Why E-receipts Are Important for Customers and Retailers Alike

Georges Berzgal

Georges Berzgal

At last, Apple’s incredibly useful in-store service of emailing consumers their receipts is becoming commonplace amongst other UK retailers.

No sooner had Argos replaced its 20m catalogs per year with iPads, we saw the retailer offer the option to receive a digital version of their receipt by email (e-receipt) for its customers in 700+ stores.

Brands like Mothercare, Selfridges and Accessorize also introduced the service in-store last year.

I welcome the news as both a consumer and as a marketer, but far too many brands are still underestimating the opportunity that these digital receipts can offer.

From the shopper’s point of view, physical receipts clutter up my wallet, are easily lost, are difficult to collate and generally feel like something from the past – my bank statements and my bills are all digital, so why not an in-store proof of purchase?

In fact, recent research found that 45% of UK shoppers would like an e-receipt when buying an item in-store.

Frustratingly, 41% reported they ‘never’ or ‘rarely’ receive one.

For brands and retailers, a move toward paperless receipts also closes the loop between the offline and online world – providing benefits to marketers and the business as a whole.

An e-receipt example from Mothercare

Mothercare exampleBy offering digital receipts to customers, companies have a good reason to request an email address, as opposed to merely asking for it to send promotional emails.

It’s also encouraging to note how receptive UK consumers are to receiving relevant marketing within e-receipts, with nearly two-thirds (64%) of consumers open to additional marketing content in the digital receipt.

The information most desired by UK consumers is notification of upcoming sales (40%), followed by promotions on related products (34%) and information about loyalty programs (31%).

This highlights the clear opportunity that e-receipts offer as a re-marketing channel for retailers to continue to engage these consumers they know are interested in the brand (as they just made a purchase!).

We often hear that consumers are clamouring for a ‘seamless’ shopping experience that joins offline and online experiences.

This can add pressure on retailers to adapt their systems to track customers across all channels via complex technologies.

The email address offers a unifying system through which you can identify your customer, whether they make a purchase in-store, online or on mobile.

The added bonus that retailers have in using this new proof of purchase is that it also offers an opportunity to re-engage or encourage the customer to sign-up to additional content, more than justifying the initial investment required to set up the system.

All in all, e-receipts offer more than just a digital receipt.

This post was originally published on Econsultancy.