The numbers speak for themselves. Retailers who sell age restricted products and regularly mystery shop their stores see a 95.5% pass rate. While pass rates can vary, retailers who engage regular mystery shop services using the red and green card notification system are better prepared to pass an official government compliance check.
And FDA recommends conducting mystery shops to ensure compliance as well and may take this into account if a retailer fails a government compliance check.
This brings us to We Card Best Practice #15:
Know Where Your Store Stands: Periodically Check Store Compliance.
While testing your employees’ knowledge after training is vital (see Best Practice #10), it’s also important to evaluate your employees’ performance at the sales counter with mystery shopping. When it comes to responsible retailing, knowing and performing should go hand-in-hand.
Take a proactive step and develop an internal compliance check program to gauge whether or not employees are asking for identification of tobacco and vaping product customers under 30 years old and properly calculating age. Mystery shop companies exist to perform this service, and We Card’s ID Check-Up service is specifically designed for age restricted product retailers.
When employees know that management is checking compliance on a regular basis, it can be a powerful deterrent against misconduct. Furthermore, mystery shop compliance checks provide employees with immediate feedback on their job performance so if they pass a mystery shop check and receive a green card, it provides positive reinforcement for a job well done (see Best Practice #11). Some retailers add incentives to their programs and include a small reward that’s connected to the mystery shop which further reinforces the right behavior.
There’s lots more to learn and we encourage visits to We Card’s website where we’ve created resources from state law summaries, information about state-required signs, the latest of FDA requirements, and state-of-the-art eLearning programs.