business news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

The Boston Herald reports on how more stores than ever “are offering the option of ‘paperless receipts’ for environmentally conscious consumers who don’t mind giving out their e-mail addresses ... Major retailers such as Apple, Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters and Nordstrom already give customers the option to go digital while the Container Store and Best Buy are participating in a pilot program with Intuit, the software maker of Quick Receipts, and Whole Foods is piloting a paperless option in the mid-Atlantic region that could spread nationwide.”

For retailers, offering this option ought to be a no-brainer ... and in fact, ought to be part of a timely, integrated, comprehensive marketing program that targets best customers.

There likely is a growing percentage of customers that would be willing to get their receipts emailed to them; not only does it cut down on paper, but it also makes it easier for them to track their food-related expenses - which is more important than ever as food prices get higher and people are looking to get the most for their money. Once people say they’d like to have their receipts emailed to them, that opens the door to other kinds of email communications between the store and the shopper - relevant, without being abusive of the open channel, because permission has been given. And, it plays into the growing trend toward mobile marketing, and social networking. It connects a retailer to a future in which the relationship with the shopper needs to change, to deepen, to become more compelling if a retailer is to have a differential advantage.

Paperless receipts are happening in a broadening number of retailers, and those with their eyes open ought to be running - not walking - to adopt it as an option.
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