Paper or Email Receipt – Going Green or a Clever Marketing Strategy ?

Paper or Email Receipt – Going Green or a Clever Marketing Strategy ?

Paper or Email: Sounds like the old Paper or Plastic question when bagging your groceries at the store…Digital receipts are now popping up on every major retailer cash registers/Checkout process. Few of the National chains like Home depot, Office Max, Best Buy etc are now giving this option to customers to email their receipts instead of traditional paper receipts while checkout?

We are exploring the pro’s and con’s of this new marketing strategy from our CEO’s desk.

Many online retailers have now started to offer to email the receipts to consumers during checkout at the register, instead of printing a paper receipt the traditional way. When I first encountered this at best buy, I was a bit surprised. Because the register was cumbersome to type in my email. The store associate at the cash register helped me type it in. How ever I am like rest of america, is in the process of going digital on all my transactions from bank statements to grocery list. So why not store receipts. But there is one problem, the store registers are not upgraded in many of these retail stores to have a fancy touch panel. We are way spoiled by the late Steve Jobs at apple, and the Google guys who gave us android, that we demand every device be swipe gesture sensitive and touch keyboard for data entry. So unless most of these storefront registers are equipped for easy data entry, I see this as not yet catching up. How ever there is a start for everything. From the consumers stand point, that is one less paper we have to keep it safe for returns or expense tracking. And in the process saves few trees! With advanced email services like gmail and Bing, finding that receipt is easy as a google search!

The retailers and the think tank at the marketing helm of these chains, have I suspect something else in mind. Collecting customer email has always been a problem for them. Now this opens up a clever way to collect the email of the unsuspecting random customer in a hurry to checkout. When your inbox gets flooded with offers, you realize what you have done. We sincerely hope the retailers use this captured data wisely, otherwise next time during checkout when you see the message ‘Paper of Email, consumers would be in a hurry to hit the ‘Paper’ button. We interviewed few consumers in Jonesboro, AR how they felt about the new option at the checkout counter. Their responses have been mixed. Most younger generation preferred an email receipt, rest still preferred a paper receipt. We think this trend is just a start. We will see more and more businesses in future offering this service. Businesses can use this piece of information for further marketing. So with the hope that the businesses will use caution in using this information, we feel going green is a good idea, at least for now. Let’s save some trees and build a greener planet for our generations to come!

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