05 Feb 2024

Event round-up- Secure Shopping: Exploring the future of Digital ID in Retail

This webinar explored Digital ID in the Retail sector, and how increased adoption can create a more private, secure and convenient experience.

This webinar was the first in a series of events this year across our Digital ID programme. This programme will continue to explore the transformative potential of Digital ID across sectors, and the challenges and opportunities facing wider adoption.  

On February 5th, techUK hosted our latest webinar in our Digital ID series, delving into the Digital ID opportunities facing ecommerce and instore retailers alike. We asked our expert panel what barriers the industry currently faces, how we can increase wider adoption and the benefits for consumers. 

The panel speakers were: 

John Abbott, Chief Commercial Officer, Yoti 

Tony Allen, Founder and Execuitve Director, Age Check Certification Scheme 

Keith Mabbitt, Chief Customer Officer, OneID 

Katherine Holden, Associate Director for Data Analytics, AI and Digital ID, techUK (Chair). 

You can watch our full webinar, and read a summary below: 



Please note that the text below is a summary of the event and that certain points have been re-ordered to ensure clarity. Readers are encouraged to view the webinar recording to appreciate the full nature of the discussion. 

Improved customer experience 

Whether in-store or online, having a Digital ID can help provide an improved customer experience, by creating a personalised and tailored experience. This can be particularly useful and convenient for high frequency uses such as online banking. 

Retailer benefits 

  1. Know your customer: Digital ID allows for a seamless experience for consumers whilst also allowing retailers to build up a detailed picture of their customers. Information such as a customer's purchase history can provide greater intelligence on customers, helping retailers to market more relevant products and services, which can lead to a higher sales conversion rate. 

  2. Supporting Staff: Digital ID can create a “point and shoot” for age verification when walking into a store, freeing up staff resources. Abuse against retail staff is commonly triggered by the need for age verification, this bypasses this interaction often leading to a safer environment1 and more streamlined experience. 

Preventing Fraud 

Having a Digital ID system in place can help to protect both stores and the customer, which is especially important considering the abundance of fraudulent websites.  

The Age Check Certification Scheme is doing a lot to look at innovative attempts of fraud including research around deep fakes and video injection attacks. These protections can lead to greater consumer trust with retailers, if they know the Digital ID provider has taken considerable steps to safeguard their activity. 

What are some of the current blockers to adoption in this sector? 

Outdated policy and international misalignment  

One of the largest barriers to wider growth and adoption according to the panel is around outdated Government policy. Lots of “legacy legislation” is unfit for the modern trading environment, for example when purchasing alcohol. If a customer looks under 25, a physical ID card is required to prove age, not digital, thus blocking a huge potential use case for retailers. Consultation on changing this has been very slow, although we have been encouraged by the Home Office’s latest consultation focusing on age verification in alcohol purchasing, which you can respond to here. 

The panel also noted that international policy in this area is also often misaligned, which can make things difficult for multinational businesses operating across multiple countries. 

What are your hopes and ambitions for Digital ID in the retail sector this year? 

  1. Hopefully, this year will see some much-needed regulatory updates. This also includes progression around international standards.  

  1. Retailers are likely going to adopt digital ID further, not just for customers but for their own internal HR processes.  

  1. Customers want to be safe online, businesses that enable them to be more secure will become increasingly attractive.  

  1. The consultation on alcohol verification will be a big business case driver online and instore. This has been a bottleneck as businesses are waiting to see what happens, so progression is a positive sign. 

This session was the first of our 2024 programme, to get involved in our Digital Identity Event Series or our broader Digital ID work programme, please contact [email protected].  

Here are the five reasons you should join the Digital Identity programme.

Learn about the value members get from our work.


Katherine Holden

Katherine Holden

Associate Director, Data Analytics, AI and Digital ID, techUK

Elis Thomas

Elis Thomas

Programme Manager, Tech and Innovation, techUK