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Are E-receipts Right for Your Retail Store?

Offering consumers email receipts for their purchase, instead of printing paper receipts, is trending. But is it right for you?

How can retailers use ereceipts for customers?How can retailers use ereceipts for customers?

You’ve probably been to at least one retail store that offered to email you a receipt instead of printing one out for you. And you may have taken them up on the offer. But have you thought about offering e-receipts at your own store? Maybe you have but you aren’t sure if it’s the right decision for you, or don’t know how to get started. Well, we’ve got you covered with the information below!

Getting Started
Getting started offering e-receipts is easier than ever before. Many point of sale software providers are now offering them as a part of their standard POS packages. Check with yours to see if this is an option to add on to your current platform. Other companies, such as Celerant (read their excellent e-receipt white paper here) and Square (who also offers receipt texting), are known for offering this capability to their customers.

Pros of using e-receipts
Tracking your customers. Offering e-receipts means you can track your customers’ purchases and use that information in making business decisions. It will allow you to see who your big customers are, and recognize trends in buying patterns like products often purchased together.
Gathering emails. Any marketer will tell you that emails are worth their pixels in gold. Offering email receipts will help you create a database of your customers’ real email addresses that you can use for marketing purposes later (just make sure they know that is your plan!).
Post Shop Messaging. Because e-receipt emails have almost double the open rates of traditional marketing emails* you can use them to your advantage to share a post shop message with your customers below the “receipt” portion. Think about sharing details on your next in-store event, offering a coupon or even showcasing images of your most popular products.

Cons of using e- receipts
Lack of customer use. While many customers will be glad to have the receipt in an electric format so they can access it whenever they want, some customers, generally older ones, may not be interested. If most of your client base is well into their retirement years, this may not be the solution for you.
Cost. While the costs of offering email receipts are not great if you already have a POS system—if you don’t have one now, this may be a significant upgrade.

Closing Caution
While offering e-receipts can help your business boom business, you will want to make sure you’ve thought about the logistics before you start offering them. For example, Old Navy got a lot of negative press regarding returns when they started offering e-receipts. This is because people took merchandise back to the store without a printed receipt and the sales team could not look up their purchases (or even visually check the emailed receipt on the customer’s cell phone) to issue a refund. This issue has since been fixed by Old Navy, but they surely lost some customers due to the poor service experience. To avoid this type of concern, talk through the full e-receipt structure with your provider before signing up for their service.

Do you have an opinion on e-receipts? Are you using them in your store and loving them? Did you try them and found they did not work? We’d love to hear your story in the comments below.

*2013 Experian Study

Melrose International is an industry leader in wholesale home décor, giftware, and seasonal items. Providing outstanding products, service, design, and value since 1985!

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