For a long time, the American pharmaceutical retail-giant CVS was mocked for its legendarily long receipts. Sometimes several feet in length, CVS recently announced a new initiative to offer its customers digital receipts. As the popularity of digital receipts increases, we explore how electronic, or ereceipts, are not only convenient, but can also mark the start of a long-term relationship between the consumer and the brand.
Over the last few years, there has been much talk that the end of the paper receipt is nigh. I’m not sure we will ever see the day that paper receipts disappear from our stores, as there will always be a proportion of the population that prefer them over digital receipts. But one thing is certain: as shopping has changed, the balance of power has continued to shift in favour of the consumer and ereceipts are a good example of this change.
Today’s consumers have an unlimited number of options when it comes to making a purchase and they expect choice at every stage: how they pay, where they buy, when they buy. The possibilities are endless. A key consideration for any retailer should be giving consumers multiple options and the ability to choose the one that suits them. So when it comes to receipts, why not give customers the option to choose between paper, digital, or both? Changes in consumer preference were confirmed by research carried out in 2015 by eConsultancy, which showed that 45% of UK consumers would like to receive a digital receipt when buying in-store.
The growing adoption and acceptance of digital receipts meant I was surprised when I recently visited a major electrical retailer to buy a printer and was not given the option to receive one digitally. It could have been the perfect opportunity to offer me a digital receipt, and in exchange for quickly handing over my email address, I’d have the reassurance that I would be able to store it and access it easily from my emails if required in future. It would have provided the retailer with a way to notify me about any problems, should the product turn out to be defective. As it is, there is no way of linking me to my in-store purchase.
The retailer missed the opportunity to add value to my in-store experience, by, for example, offering me an extended warranty, or money off related products like ink cartridges or paper. This would have resulted in a more positive experience and an increased likelihood that I’d return to the store. I’d also been left with a paper receipt to hang on to, adding to the others I have at home. Not only that, but the paper receipt I was handed included an irrelevant promotion about mobile phone contracts which had no link to my purchase. Another missed opportunity.
From our experience, we know that digital receipts open up a post-purchase communication channel that lasts longer than a single transaction and marks the start of a long-term relationship between the consumer and the brand. Not only that, it also offers the chance for intelligent targeting and personalisation, giving tangible benefits to those shopping. It has further been helped with the rise of online retail and the need for a seamless experience between bricks and mortar and online.
At Ecrebo, we are proud to be helping more stores become digital. We help them give their customers what they want both in terms of the receipts themselves and the targeted offers that they can enable. As digital receipt adoption continues to accelerate, retailers who are slow to adopt may find themselves missing a big opportunity. Giving your customer the options on receipts puts the decision in their hands, encouraging greater brand engagement and driving long-term loyalty.
Find out more about digital receipts and what going digital can do for your business.