Timpson Group introduces a ground breaking service in identity – the UK’s first Identity Shop, ArkHive, brought to market with the support of Innovate Identity, experts in ID.


Timpson Group has 1,470 stores UK wide, including Max Spielmann and Snappy Snaps as part of their portfolio. Timpson are the biggest supplier of identity photos in the UK.


Timpson Group have a history of innovation. With this in mind they have been looking at ways they can use their reputation for great service, combined with a wide UK store network to support the UK population in it’s transistion into the digital age. Timpson thought it might be possible through the provision of instore support for digital services including helping people prove who they are online, in a safe, secure and privacy preserving way.

Back in early 2015 Timpson had ideas on how they might deliver a service but had little knowledge of the digital identity market place, or how they might develop a strategy within it.


Innovate Identity provided strategic advisory services and thought leadership to give Timpson the insight they needed, and helped them define their strategy in this new market place.

How Innovate Identity Helped Timpson Group:
• Gave strategic insight and helped define go to market strategy
• Supported with proposition design and innovation
• Decreased time to market of new product launch

Background – The Digital Inclusion Challenge

Recent surveys show that even in this digital age, there are still large numbers of individuals and businesses struggling with online applications. 23% of the UK population lack basic digital skills, according to the Go ON UK Basic Digital Skills Report. This is also shared across small businesses as Lloyds Bank UK Business Digital Index 2015 found that 1 in 3 SMEs lack basic online skills. A lack of basic skills and associated confidence in signing up for and using online services is a major barrier for many people from benefiting in this digital age. So how can we ensure everyone in the UK has the opportunity get assistance and benefit from accessing services and completing applications online where their identity needs to be checked so they can get the most from the Internet?

In order to test the many ways in which they might be able to assist with the UK digital challenge during 2015 Timpson invested in and created a dedicated Identity shop, Arkhive, in Henley-Upon-Thames. The Arkhive store is set up a test environment to help develop some of the propositions around how Timpson could help on the high street in enabling inclusion through digital identity and skills.

Introducing ArkHive

With recognition for customer excellence on the high street, Timpson wanted to create a community hub filled with their knowledgeable and expert colleagues, who could provide a range of identity services to individuals and businesses, both public and private sector in a face to face environment.

Firstly ArkHive was designed as a consumer facing environment where individuals could come to get help with online processes, such as those required for passport applications to enable them a single place for all their online and identity needs.

For small to medium sized businesses ArkHive provides support with performing identity checks to ensure they met their regulatory obligations for Right to Work checks; Landlords could get help checking identity documents for Right to Rent checks; and community service providers could get help in performing Disclosure Barring Services checks, including local schools and nannies.

Finally at a time when larger organisions such as banks are reducing their high street precence and the UK Goverment are trying to transition citizens online, the store is designed for them to test out the ArkHIve environment to provide somewhere for consumers to go to have their identity verified or simply for assistance with digital applications.

With a Timpson ‘Arm around the shoulder’, online applications for individuals and businesses could become a reality for many requiring assistance. Services to support the UK population lacking basic digital skills will help open new doors for those individuals, assisting public and private sector organisations achieving greater savings in the transition to digital.

What did customers say?

“I thought it was such a good idea [before coming] … It takes all the fear out of it [after receiving help]. We should spread the word!”

“It was easier than I expected…maybe it was the nice chap helping me!”

The Benefits

ArkHive, the first identity shop helps customers across the UK by:
• Assisting individual and businesses with online applications and services where basic digital skills may be lacking
• Providing a friendly and supportive environment for customers to embrace the Internet
• Reducing consumer fear and complexity inherent with embracing new technology
• Helping to drive adoption of online services for businesses and government
• Close the skills gap across the UK population in the digital age

“Innovate Identity have been supporting us in developing our proposition in the identity market space. Their thought leadership, knowledge and connections in this area have proved invaluable in helping us understand how Timpson can help shape this developing market place and drive it forward through our unique high street presence and approach to customer service. The team at Innovate significantly accelerated our time to market. We awarded the team the Arkhive award for Innovation for the work they have done supporting us on this groundbreaking project.”
James Timpson, CEO

What’s next?

After a successful launch on Tuesday 23rd February 2016 Timpson continue to extend the ArkHive services and are exploring the opportunity to service customers through their mobile phones, putting consumers back in control of their personal data securely and continuing their innovative approach enabling consumer inclusion in a digital world.