In a move that the staff of Dunder Mifflin would disapprove of, many stores are going paperless with their receipts. The change is being presented as a convenience to customers–instead of stuffing yet another small piece of paper into your wallet or bag (and then having to keep track of all of those small pieces of paper), you can have your receipt emailed to you. Apple is a pioneer of digital receipts, having offered shoppers the option since 2005. Recently, Nordstrom also began to offer paperless receipts.
According to Richard Mader, an executive with the National Retail Federation, “In five years, up to 60 percent of retailers will go paperless.”
Digital receipts are not only convenient, they are also eco-friendly. But we think that companies are more likely motivated by dollar signs than concern for the environment. When you opt in to receive a digital receipts, you have to submit your email address–a valuable asset that allows retailers to continue to market to you after you’ve left their stores.