Email Marketing

The Benefits of Sending In-Store E-Receipts

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I’ve been pretty impressed with my recent shopping experiences. As a regular consumer, I’m noticing a shift towards a new email technique used in-store by retailers. Well, the technology itself has been around for some time, but I find it particularly innovative because the vast majority of retailers (certainly here in the UK) have not yet adopted this practice. I am talking about in-store generated e-receipts.

This blog is part one of three, where I take you along on my journey of discovery to explore who’s doing it, how they’re doing it, and the benefits of sending e-receipts. I plan to showcase some best practice examples, uncover do’s and don’t’s, along with ideas and considerations about how your business could best use e-receipts.

As long ago as 2013, e-receipts were demonstrating a significantly higher open rate of 33.7% vs 16.2% when compared to bulk promotional messages. Some retailers (including Mothercare, Schuh, Debenhams, Monsoon and Screwfix) have seen up to 75% of store customers engaging with them. There is a myth that in-store receipt technology is difficult to implement which could be the reason for a slower than expected adoption. The fact is there are many companies specializing in digital receipts and their systems can be integrated with your point of sale (POS) system, Email Service Provider (ESP), CRM system and/or mobile apps. Common concerns tend to be about the technology and how difficult it is to implement, this is perhaps the main reason for slower adoption than we may expect. However,  So from an implementation standpoint, it can actually be fairly simple. Card payment providers like izettle make it easy for small businesses, including pop-up market stalls to send e-receipts opening up marketing opportunities for even small businesses.

Apple stores have been offering e-receipts since 2005 and while US retailers embraced the technology, the UK did not. But e-receipts are becoming more prevalent and are no longer perceived as just another transactional mail. Moreover, they are an opportunity for marketers to drive business objectives.

Here’s an example of an e-receipt I received from Selfridges:

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Pros and Cons:

  • I like it because the opt-in at the store was explicit, the subject line is clear, and the receipt was sent as an attachment making it easy to print or file away.
  • It would be better if the receipt was sent real time and if the last refund/exchange date was populated.
  • Selfridges uses the opportunity to promote customer feedback.
  • The receipt attachment drew my attention away from the email itself (perhaps Selfridges could design the email to be more skimmable and improve the visibility of the call-to-action (CTA) to promote more responses).

As email marketers, we are constantly challenging preconceptions and when thinking about in-store e-receipts we ought to consider whether they should be different. How much should they resemble traditional receipts? Do we make full use of technology and data so e-receipts are more sophisticated? Should we implement interactivity or menus so e-receipts are more interactive?

The next blog of this three-part series will explore some of the best examples I discovered. For now, I will leave you with some thoughts about why I think you should take the plunge:

  • They’re convenient, easy to store, save paper and help de-clutter wallets
  • It’s a re-marketing opportunity—these customers have just purchased!
  • They provide an opportunity to drive customer feedback, encourage customers to sign-up for additional mail, upsell and/or cross-sell with relevant personalized offerings
  • They provide deeper insight into consumer shopping habits. Who exactly is the customer and what are they buying?
  • It makes expense management easier using apps—there’s no need to scan receipts!
  • Retailers can analyze purchases and demographic data to predict behaviors. They can then use that information to align in-store promotions and merchandise
  • E-receipts have a significantly higher open rate of 33.7% vs. 16.2% (Experian benchmark report) compared to bulk promotional messages

Want to get tips and advice on creating your very own e-receipts? Stay tuned for the second in this series where I’ll be looking at best practice examples.