Is it time for e-mailed receipts?
Retailers first began experimenting with e-mailing receipts to customers and foregoing paper in the early part of this decade with Apple starting the trend. About a third of stores now reportedly offer the option, but only a few actively promote the practice and even fewer use it as a marketing tool.
According to Boston Retail Partners’ 2015 POS/Customer Engagement Benchmarking Survey, only 10 percent of the more than 500 top North American retailers they polled currently offer electronic receipts with personalized suggestions. Still, 35 percent more plan to implement the offering within 12 months and another 35 percent plan to add e-receipts with personalized offers within one to three years.
E-mailed receipts promise an environmentally friendly alternative to paper, a savings on paper cost for stores, and a way for customers to avoid losing their flimsy paper receipts.
In its study, BRP said offering an electronic receipt after an in-store purchase gives customers "the piece of mind that they’ll have a copy that won’t be lost from the time they leave the store to when they get home." In addition, stores can offer suggestions for potential purchases based on past purchases, "elevating the customer’s current and future shopping experience."
Still, reports over the arrival of e-mailed receipts over the years often come with a warning that stores are largely looking to gain access to shoppers’ e-mail inboxes. Britt Beemer, founder of America’s Research Group, told USA Today in 2011, "It’s a subtle way of saying, ‘How can I invade your personal life but not offend you at the same time?’"
One expressed concern is the subsequent arrival of floods of emailed coupons and other deals, although retailers are said to be getting smarter about appearing as spam.
An article earlier this year by the CBS affiliate in Dallas-Forth Worth also warned that retailers could sell e-mail addresses to third parties. Apple, Macy’s and Nordstrom all told the station they only use customers’ e-mail addresses for their own marketing purposes.
- 2015 POS/Customer Engagement Benchmarking Survey – Boston Retail Partners
- Paper receipts fall out of favor as businesses turn to email – Pittsburgh Tribune Review
- Some retailers test e-mailing customers’ receipts – USA Today
- Customers May Reveal More Than They Know With E-Mail Receipts – CBS Dallas Fort Worth
Why haven’t e-mailed receipts become more pervasive? Do you find consumers have become more or less apprehensive over the last few years about providing their e-mail addresses to retailers?