Are Paper Receipts an Outdated Concept?

“Would you like your receipt?”

Now, more than ever, retailers are asking customers this question at the cash register in an effort to save ink, paper, and the costs associated with both.

But without receipts, how do merchants handle issues that typically require one? For instance, if an item needs to be returned, cashiers want to see the receipt. Or, if a big-ticket item is under warranty, manufacturers tend to want proof of purchase.

That’s where electronic receipts come in. According to USA Today, retailers like Macy’s, Nordstrom, The Gap, and Whole Foods now offer customers the option of having receipts emailed or texted to them rather than printed at the register. This saves the companies money, helps to eliminate waste, and creates an electronic “paper trail” to track returns.

How can smaller merchants make e-receipts part of their checkout process? GoPayment maeks it easy; all a shopper has to do is provide a phone number or email address, and the receipt is sent automatically.

The benefits of email receipts for you and your customers include:

  1. Convenience. Instead of having to find a place to file paper receipts, your customers can keep the digital ones in a phone or email inbox, where they can be easily retrieved if an item needs to be returned. These files can also be backed up on a computer or cloud-based storage server and saved for many years.
  2. Customization. You can customize electronic receipts with your company’s name, logo, and contact information. You can even add custom messages at the bottom of receipts that include links to web or social media sites and announcements of special offers.
  3. Use fewer supplies. It may be a while before all of your customers embrace the concept, but enough people will request electronic receipts that your business will save money on ink and paper (and become more sustainable).
  4. Internal tracking. Merchants can set up their payment system to send them notification emails or update a sales database whenever anyone on staff processes a transaction. This allows you track all purchases, whether you or an employee handles them.

About Stephanie Faris

Stephanie is a freelance writer and young adult/middle grade novelist, who also works in information systems. Her first book, 30 Days of No Gossip, will be released by Simon and Schuster in spring 2014. She lives in Nashville with her husband.
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