Digital Receipts without the Email Hassle

Written by David Salisbury of Star Cloud Services for Retail Minded. 

There’s no denying it, receipts play an important role in everyday life. These small slips of paper clutter wallets, drawers and shoeboxes; lay crumpled in clothing pockets; and are thrown haphazardly into filing cabinets or trashcans. But nothing is worse than realizing the need to return an item or deduct a purchase on a tax return, only to find that the appropriate and much-needed receipt is nowhere to be found.

In 2005, Apple made a retail industry breakthrough when they became the first brick-and-mortar company to offer digital receipts as an option when making purchases. In lieu of receiving a printed receipt, customers were able to provide their email address and within minutes an electronic receipt would appear in their inbox.

Ten years later, consumers have become accustomed to this practice, as it has been widely implemented among retailers. At the time, this tactic – like all things Apple – was innovative, effective and convenient. Email receipts made it easier for consumers to keep track of their spending, expedited the purchasing process, and was cost effective and eco-friendly, saving both the expense and resource of the receipt paper.  However, consumers didn’t realize that upon providing their email address to merchants they would be stuck in a brand new world: email marketing.

Email Marketing: Effectively Ineffective

Email marketing has proven to be an effective strategy for businesses. In fact, according to eMarketer via Hubspot, it was cited as the most effective digital marketing channel for customer retention in the United States. However, the general public might not agree. Today, consumers view email marketing much like they do junk mail that ends up in their mailboxes – unsolicited, unwanted and unhelpful.

It is precisely this mentality that has paved the way for digital receipting options to take over for email.

The Evolution of an Email Receipt

Today, email receipts are a normal practice for those who want to stay organized and not “waste” paper. But with the negative opinion many have about unsolicited emails, something needs to change. TechnologyAdvice Research notes that 60 percent of its respondents report reading emails from businesses – in theory a positive statistic. However, this figure means that 40 percent of people don’t even open marketing emails, leading us to believe they aren’t happy to receive them.

The Value of Digital Receipts

Digital receipts provide a far better solution. For retailers, digital receipts offer invaluable consumer data that will help them tailor their marketing and promotional efforts to their customers. For consumers, they provide an easy and convenient way to store all their receipts in a single place. Printed receipts will no longer weigh them down or get lost. Consumers will also avoid being bombarded by unwanted marketing emails. Instead, they will have all their receipts in a single, secure location, which ensures facilitation of proof of purchase, returns and most importantly, tax season.

Ten years ago, Apple debuted a development for printed receipts. Today, the time has come to once again reinvigorate the way consumers are approached at the point of sale. Digital receipts that are accessed via an app or cloud service give consumers the accessibility of an email receipt, with a crucial added benefit: anonymity.


Contributed by David Salisbury, VP of Sales and Marketing at Star Cloud Services. With more than 25 years of technology industry leadership experience within Star Micronics, he has been leading Star’s growth and innovation in the world of POS. Now a resident at Plug and Play Tech Center in Sunnyvale, California, Salisbury shares his passion for technology by mentoring start-ups and engaging the community as a speaker. He holds an Engineering degree from Auckland University of Technology.

A 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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