In response to an explosion of social media mockery, CVS revealed plans to shorten the length of its in-store receipts tied to its ExtraCare loyalty program by about 25 percent. None of cash-back rewards typically offered will be eliminated.
Customers have complained about the lengthy receipts for years with a 2009 article in the Wall Street Journal documenting the increasing size of receipts at CVS, Duane Reade and Kmart.
A 2011 Los Angeles Times article indicated that CVS had been planning to switch to putting cash-back rewards on customer's ExtraCare cards amid the complaints. But it then decided to keep the "Extra Bucks" offers on the receipts because it said members liked to "feel the reward."
Last week, the complaints went viral. An @CVS_Receipt parody account created on Twitter had over 950 followers as of last night as well as postings on Instagram that ridiculed the lengthy receipts. Many pictures showed shocked adults and kids standing next to receipts longer than themselves. Some indicated they had only bought one item, and many added sarcastic comments, such as, "The favorite part of my CVS receipt is the sports section," and, "Tonight I'm just going to stay in, relax and curl up with a good CVS receipt."
Coverage in Huffington Post and Fast Company spread the story. On the Today show last Wednesday, Matt Lauer joked, "I understand the need for coupons, but we're supposed to try to move to a paperless society.''
After initialliy defending itself by stating that ExtraCare rewards redemptions were at an all time high, CVS switched course last Friday. In a post on Facebook, Rob Price, chief marketing officer, CVS/pharmacy, joked that CVS had indeed gone "LONG on savings" to bring more value to ExtraCare members. Referencing the social media parodies, he also remarked that CVS had noticed the "very creative uses" of its receipts.
But he noted that with members asking "for ALL the savings and LESS paper," CVS found a way to reduce the size of the ExtraCare portion of their receipts by 25 percent while still providing all the coupons and rewards. The smaller receipts will start printing in coming weeks.
In addition, next year CVS will allow ExtraCare members to receive all rewards and savings directly to their card. Currently only select offers can be stored paperlessly on ExtraCare cards.
Mr. Price concluded, "We hope you will continue to redeem each of your personalized offers but for the ones you don't use, please don't forget to recycle! Thanks for the feedback."
Some bloggers following the CVS response felt 25 percent wasn't long enough.
Will customers be happy with CVS's move to reduce the size of the ExtraCare portion of their receipts by 25 percent?