Many years ago, when I started my first business, I remember lots of people were talking about the ‘paperless office’. What a great idea… everything digital, nothing wasted. Unfortunately here we are in 2019, still with an insatiable appetite for paper.
Every year, we consume vast quantities of paper. The environmentally aware of us will know that a good percentage of this paper nowadays is recycled and Government has put resource in place to at least encourage us all to get into the habit of separating our easily recyclable materials, yet still World consumption of paper is growing, by as much as 400% in the last 40 years http://goo.gl/s4z5qf Â .
As the increasing use of paper means more and more trees are cut down, we have fewer trees available to absorb all the carbon dioxide and noxious gases that are being produced by farmed animals, volcanoes, industry and yes… those horrible, planet killing cars. Re-planting schemes certainly help, but as trees take time to grow, the pool of mature trees is getting smaller and smaller by the year.
If like me you marvel at the amount of waste that society creates and wonder what will happen when all the trees have been chopped down, you’re going to love the idea of e-Receipts. If you’re also tasked with doing the marketing for your business then you’re going to love e-Receipts even more!
Top eCommerce retailers like Argos, as well as banks and other institutions have started to use e-Receipts as they offer a whole host of benefits not only for retailers but also for customers.
Instead of a paper till receipt, customers have the option to receive an electronic receipt via email and text message, plus all purchase history is stored alongside warranty information in an easy to access online account. For the customer, this means that further benefit can be had, with instruction manuals, instructional videos and recipes for example being available alongside all this purchase history.
Benefits to Retailers
Marketing lives and dies on customer data, which is why schemes like Tesco’s Clubcard and the Nectar card scheme work so well for retail. Modern electronic marketing relies on huge amounts of social profiling, purchase and search history data whilst technology is getting smarter every day. Did you know that location tracking and embedded data on your mobile phone can tell a retailer what you’re looking at, what interests you? http://goo.gl/EYPnR
e-Receipts can provide you, as a retailer, with the same sort of behavioral data that more intrusive technologies employ without customers feeling that they are being ‘spied on’, so you can precisely target offers to customers based on previous purchase history and brand identity. This type of data can help you as a retailer to structure your offerings both in-store and online in a way which will capture the maximum spend and the best conversion rates.
An Experian benchmark and trend report http://goo.gl/dpDmNS from 2014 highlights the potential financial benefits for retailers of using eReceipts as a customer communications channel, where revenue can show a 600% increase over traditional ‘spray and pray’ marketing techniques. This means using e-Receipts to communicate timely, targetted marketing to your customers can give you a major advantage on your competitors whilst cutting waste and helping your customers in managing their purchases.
Do you want an even bigger incentive to use e-Receipts? Paper costs money and thermal receipt paper is even more expensive and may be potentially damaging to both Human health and the environment http://goo.gl/FfDi4 . Add this to reduced need for rubbish collection at your premises (at exorbitant business collection rates!) means that savings in these areas can be put into smarter promotion for your business or improving your stock levels. There are also Worldwide shortages of thermal printer paper, as supply is effectively controlled by China, making e-Receipts look even more financially attractive.
So there you have it… it seems we are (finally) moving away from the need for paper and more towards electronic methods of servicing customers and marketing to those same customers, using freely available and very reliable data.
Head of Creative Online Marketing
David has been involved with Search Engine Optimisation and web development since 1999 and has spoken at many different retail and SEO conferences including Spring Fair and SES London