Digital Receipts: The Future of Retail

Contributed by David Salisbury, VP of Sales and Marketing for Star Cloud Services.  

With retailers often hearing about new advancements in technology and improvements to the retail space, they might wonder what the future of retail will be. A fair question, as trends and technologies continue to evolve, thus creating a fluid landscape with a host of possibilities. Retailers wanting to successfully transition from established practices that will be useful in the digital age would be remiss to discount one of the most basic parts of the shopping experience: receipts.

Through the years receipts have undergone myriad changes, as companies walk the fine line between providing consumers with a useful itemized record of purchases and a medium that can be leveraged for marketing initiatives. For some retailers, finding that balance proves more difficult, as they attempt to incorporate too much into their receipts, turning them into a cumbersome slip of paper. A recent article comparing receipt lengths from different retailers for the purchase of a single pack of gum found that the longest receipt was two feet long – a clear sign something needs to change for the benefit of the consumer.

As we continue to advance through the digital age, the solution to this problem has transitioned from paper to digital. With shoppers constantly accompanied by a mobile device, retailers need to provide them with a better receipting solution. But not all digital solutions are the same. Taking a picture of a receipt and calling it a digital copy is like holding a microphone to a speaker to record a song – antiquated and inefficient. A good digital receipt will not only provide shoppers with a transaction record, it will also present retailers with an opportunity for marketing – and it will do so without needing personal information from the shopper.

Value for the customer

A valuable digital receipt provides consumers with an itemized record of their purchases, not just a statement of the monetary total spent. For a digital receipt to be effective, it must outline every item shoppers have purchased, so that if they are dissatisfied or need to make a return, they will easily be able to do so. The digital receipt also needs to be an exact replica of the paper receipt, meaning users have access to both the front and back of it.

Value for the retailer

Receipts are just as valuable for the retailer as they are for the shopper. Retailers still need to be able to communicate pertinent information to consumers on digital receipts, just as they would on printed ones. This includes promotional efforts and terms and conditions. By communicating this information digitally, retailers can be assured that the needs of all departments for which a receipt is useful – financial, loss prevention and marketing – will be met.

Retailers that choose to adopt digital receipts going forward are sure to benefit, not only from a financial perspective, but also by providing consumers with what they want – a convenient receipting solution that won’t weigh them down.

Star Micronics subsidiary, Star Cloud Services was built to bring IoT solutions to retailers by enabling the more than six million Star Micronics POS printers in stores today to become cloud-connected devices. Star Cloud Services has the unique ability to transform shopping receipts into valuable digital transaction data. With that data, retailers gain deeper insights that help them better engage, activate and retain shoppers.

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