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Self-service tobacco purchases made possible by Yoti & StrongPoint

Published: 8. August 2018

Tobacco sales are important source of profit for retailers and several aspects of its purchase process are currently subject to review. Firstly, each customer purchasing tobacco must have their ID verified by a cashier. It’s a tedious and sometimes an inconvenient process. Secondly, tobacco sales become more and more restricted with new package branding regulations. Some European countries have already applied them and they are soon coming into force in several more.

Digital ID verification for tobacco purchases has been made possible via a collaboration between digital ID app Yoti and Strongpoint’s Select & Collect Solution Vensafe. First, the customer creates a Yoti account by downloading the free Yoti app. Then he/she takes a photo of his/her face and authenticates by recording a short video. And in the end, the customer adds an ID document, for example, a passport or driving license. This encrypts their personal identity details safely within the app.

StrongPoint & Yoti at CTSI Nottingham

How does self-service work

The purchase process then goes like this: the customer selects the desired product on Select & Collect touchscreen. Then the customer pays at the manned till or self-service check-out and goes to collect the item in the dispenser. Before the dispenser gives out the selected product, the customer must to verify their identity via the Yoti app. The identification process requires the customer to scan a QR code on the dispenser screen. Then they have to scan their face on their smart phone via the Yoti app to verify. That’s how it’s possible to bypass the likelihood of somebody under age using the dispenser.

The advantages of such verification are both practical and social: making it possible to purchase without physically having an ID and eliminating the need of having cigarette displays at check-outs. It also reduces the check-out time and cost to retailers. In addition, Yoti helps to avoid uncomfortable situations when the customer takes offence having been asked for ID.

The Select & Collect and Yoti system, which is designed with the user at heart, will help retailers move towards a self-service environment, allowing customers who purchase tobacco items to check out without any assistance from the store staff. Select & Collect dispenser stocks items but doesn’t display them and therefore offers a convenient solution for retailers in countries, where restricted tobacco branding laws are in force. The solution has additional potential for online tobacco purchases.