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Electronic Receipts: Should You Go Paperless?

August 27, 2014

Electronic Receipts: Should You Go Paperless?

If you do much shopping, you have almost certainly heard an associate ask a question like this when closing out your sale: “Would you like your receipt in the bag, or e-mailed to you?”

This is the relatively new phenomenon of electronic (or digital) receipts – the option of a customer collecting a receipt in their inbox instead of a physical copy in their bag.

Apple was the first company to offer electronic receipts in 2005, but they have since made serious gains in popularity. An estimated 35% of retailers currently provide an electronic option (including big names like Wells Fargo, Whole Foods, Nordstrom, Best Buy, Macy’s, Gap and Sears), and that number will only continue to grow.

Benefits of Electronic Receipts

It’s not a tough trend to figure out. Electronic receipts tout some hard-to-ignore benefits, like saving substantial amounts of paper and trees, reducing costs, and increasing company profits in the process. They also allow for the customer to keep track of their receipts in a much more organized fashion and speed up the transaction process. Electronic receipts manage to touch on all three of the sustainability Ps (people, planet, and profit), and that makes it a great fit for businesses trying to work out an actionable sustainability strategy.

Customer Concerns

Though this trend is becoming increasingly popular with businesses and retailers, there are some still some obstacles to overcome. There are several reasons a customer might feel wary of electronic receipts:

  • they realize they will be opening themselves up to promotional e-mails in the future,
  • they are “old-fashioned” and have trouble getting onboard with something different,
  • highly publicized “data breaches” have made them concerned about privacy issues, or
  • they worry the spam filter might keep them from actually receiving their receipts.

What You Can Do

If you’re interested in going paperless, you will need to find ways to reassure your customers. Let them know you won’t disclose their e-mail address to outside parties, educate them on how they can protect their identity, and don’t abuse your e-mail list with excessive self-promotional material.  When a customer trusts you with their e-mail address, it’s your responsibility to ensure they don’t regret it.

When it comes to minimizing waste and implementing an efficient sustainability program within your business, offering electronic receipts is a great place to start. If you’re interested in further guidance on changing the way you do business, call Hazardous Waste Experts today at 800-936-2311 – we offer comprehensive sustainability consulting services that can be tailored to fit your specific needs and challenges.

Photo Credit: Telstar Logistics via Compfight cc

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