The digital receipt is on the rise, both in terms of retailers who offer the option and the consumers who take it. But while brands ranging from Whole Foods to Gap Inc. to Kmart have embraced the paperless technology, in a funny twist, the way stores handle sending receipts can be a simultaneous marketing ploy and a customer drawback.
For the retailers opting to email receipts, the technology is an easy way to add customer addresses to their databases and send follow-up offers. However, The New York Times quoted Robert Cohen, vice president of retail at Patagonia, who pointed out that “People are very protective of their e-mail in-box,” and thus, presented with the option of an e-receipt, some shoppers wind up sticking with paper.
That reluctance presents an entry point for the password-protected, third-party receipt site. Whole Foods, for example, is working with MyReceipts on an electronic delivery system that lets customers store their receipts in one place, search them, and at some point in the near future, sort and track how much they spend on individual items. (The site already lets customers catalog their receipts from major retailers like Walmart and Best Buy, and they’re soliciting user suggestions for more stores to add).
We think this system sounds great, as an organizational tool, a budgeting device, and of course, a way to go paperless. It seems like just the ticket for moving e-receipts from the realm of a growing trend and into becoming the status quo.