I know the Apple Store has been sending out digital receipts since 2005, but I’ve only recently noticed more and more retailers offering digital alternatives to paper receipts as I go about my daily business. If I get a snack at my favorite bakery, Back to Eden, the friendly lady who works the register flips a tablet towards me, and I get to choose if I want my receipt emailed or texted to me before I stroll away with my vegan soft serve ice cream cone. I go jeans shopping, which I loathe with a passion, and now the checkout process is the least traumatizing part of the process. I can get my receipts emailed to me from Nordstrom Rack, Gap, and Urban Outfitters, so if I get home and realize I accidentally bought mom jeans, I don’t have to dig through my purse to find the paper receipt so I can go return them. I just have to check my inbox. I feel very eco-friendly when I leave Whole Foods with my cloth grocery bag filled with locally grown veggies and a receipt in my inbox instead of on paper. And when I attend a craft show, street festival, or trade show, it seems like every booth is armed with an iPad and Square. I don’t remember the last time I got a paper receipt from a local jeweler or handmade soap artisan.
While some of these businesses do a great job of incorporating their digital receipts into their marketing plans, others are missing big opportunities. According to Experian’s Quarterly Email Benchmark Study, transactional emails have a higher open rate than marketing emails. They are also exempt from most provisions of the dreaded CAN-SPAM Act, as long as you’re careful with your subject lines and how much commercial content you include along with the transactional information.
Here are five suggestions that every business owner should consider, whether you’re selling homemade fudge or Seven jeans.
- Include an opt-in- If you have an e-newsletter give your customers a chance to sign up. Remember to tell them why they should join and what valuable content you provide to your loyal e-news subscribers, whether that’s coupons, details about upcoming sales, military appreciation days, recipes, or an update about events you’ll be attending in the future. Don’t automatically add email address you receive from transactions into your drip list. It’s shady and rude. Don’t be that guy.
- Link to your web site, Facebook, or Twitter- Even if you don’t have an e-newsletter, you probably have a web site, Facebook page, or a Twitter account, right? Drive traffic to your web site and increase your number of likes, RT’s, and followers by including links in your e-receipt.
- Encourage social share- Some technology providers have tools that make it possible for your customers to share specific items from their receipts directly to their Facebook or Twitter page. I might not want to tell the world that I just bought more deodorant, but if your store happens to give a teacher discount on chocolate covered freeze dried cantaloupe, I’ve got quite a few Facebook friends who’d find that interesting.
- Upsell- Some plug-ins also give retailers the ability to upsell categories of products like “Clearance” or “Most Popular” or recommend items by matching the purchases on the receipt. This is a great opportunity to encourage repeat purchases.
- Offer savings- My printed grocery receipts from Fred Meyer include $1 off coupons for cat litter and updates on the number of loyalty points I’ve accrued. This information can, and should, also be included on digital receipts. Give me a coupon code or remind me that you offer a student discount by linking to your student verification page. I’ll reward you with my loyalty.
Now the next time I opt to receive my receipt digitally, I’m going to be thinking of this check list and keeping track of who is using digital receipts well and who has room for improvement.
photo by: Carly & Art
Five Tips for Optimizing Digital Receipts