09 June 2022

Co-op has extended its trial of innovative age estimation technology into five of its stores in partnership with Diebold Nixdorf (NYSE: DBD) and Yoti.

The small-scale trial – which is not facial recognition and does not retain or store images – now sees Co-op testing Vynamic® Smart Vision I Age Verification, a new Diebold Nixdorf solution that uses Yoti’s age estimation technology, in five of its Manchester stores* including the store located within its Customer Support Centre where it first tested the technology last November.

The trial runs until the end of June and forms part of the Home Office Sandbox which provides an opportunity for industry and retail to test innovative approaches to age estimation - the sandbox accepted proposals for technologies to improve or enhance compliance with the licensing objective to reduce the risk of under-age sales.

Co-op also believes that the technology could reduce abuse and anti-social behavior towards retail workers as asking for ID can be a flashpoint for frustration for some shoppers and, a trigger for the unacceptable levels of abuse and anti-social behavior faced by frontline shopworkers. In addition, Co-op envisages that the technology has the potential to make shopping quicker, easier and more convenient for customers, especially at busier times.

James Beane, Co-op’s operations innovation and continuous improvement lead, explained: “Co-op is carrying out a small-scale trial - which started last year in the store in our Customer Support Centre for colleagues to use innovative age estimation technology when purchasing alcohol at self-scan tills. This has now been rolled-out to four stores in Manchester. Shoppers can choose whether or not to use the technology – which is not facial recognition, and does not store or retain images. The pilot forms part of trials aimed at further improving or enhancing compliance with the licensing objective to reduce the risk of under-age sales. Asking for ID can also be a flashpoint for frustration for some shoppers, and become a trigger for the unacceptable levels of abuse and anti-social behavior faced by frontline shopworkers. In addition, we envisage this could make shopping quicker, easier and more convenient for customers, especially at busier times.”

Diebold Nixdorf provided the solution by integrating Yoti’s Age Estimation technology into Vynamic Smart Vision I Age Verification. It initiates automated age estimation when an age-restricted item is scanned. An algorithm estimates the customer’s age in real time. If the system estimates the customer to be over 25, they will be able to proceed with the purchase without requiring a store worker to verify the transaction. If a customer’s age is estimated to be under 25, they will be prompted to show an ID to a member of staff. No customer information is stored in the system. Customers can also choose not to use the age estimation technology.

Yoti Chief Commercial Officer, John Abbott, said: “We are excited to collaborate with Co-op and Diebold Nixdorf to help people prove their age direct to the self-checkout terminal in seconds, without store worker intervention. It is a privacy-preserving, GDPR-compliant solution that can be easily integrated to meet local regulatory requirements.”

Diebold Nixdorf Senior Vice President and Managing Director, EMEA Retail Sales Management, Ben Gale, said: “At Diebold Nixdorf, we are continuously driving retail and customer improvements through the self-checkout experience. Vynamic Smart Vision I Age Verification is a win for everyone: The consumer is empowered to conduct the transaction themselves, resulting in an improved overall customer experience, while delivering better throughput, and an enhanced brand reputation.”

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*Co-op started trialling the technology in a live environment last November (2021) - it is a small-scale trial, which started with Co-op colleagues using the technology in a store located within its Manchester customer support centre. It has since been rolled out to four stores in Manchester, England, located in: Angel Street; Oxford Road; Piccadilly and Spinningfields – with the trial running until the end of June (2022).

Further information:
Andrew Torr
Co-op Press Office
M: 07702505551
E: Andrew.torr@coop.co.uk