Over the last decade, digital receipts, also known as e-receipts, are becoming more popular than paper receipts. However, before following the trend, you should know the pros and cons of digital receipts. Customers these days have the option of choosing between digital and paper receipts.
The question that begs an answer here is, should you go digital? In this post, we will look at the merits and demerits of taking this step. We will also discuss the future of electronic receipts.
Explaining Digital Receipts and How They Work
Before now, retailers had to print receipts for their customers. This meant extra costs on paper and ink. To solve this problem, technology presented us with digital receipts which any one can have access to thanks to free admin templates for web applications.
Before we can discuss the pros and cons of digital receipts, we must understand what they are. Just as the name implies, they are receipts that retailers send digitally. What this means is that a customer receives their receipt in their email after purchase.
How did the idea of digital receipts come about? It was an initiative driven by the Apple Store along with several startups. The aim was to deal with the issue of sustainability.
How do digital receipts work? After purchase, the customer chooses which type of receipt they want. If they opt for a digital receipt, they submit their email. The receptionist enters the email into the system and within seconds, they receive the receipt electronically.
The good thing about this is that the digital receipt system holds onto the email address. This means that retailers can use this to reach out to their customers during marketing campaigns. With this out of the way, let’s take a quick look at the pros and cons of digital receipts.
Pros of Digital Receipts
If you have used paper receipts, you can tell that it costs a lot. Do you know that billions of dollars are saved from switching to digital receipts worldwide?
Let’s take a closer look at what it costs to use paper receipts. First, there’s the cost of producing paper then the cost of buying it. After buying, you need ink to print on the paper and a printer as well. All of this takes its toll on different businesses.
With digital receipts, no paper is involved. This means that you are eliminating any extra costs. As such, you can transfer such funds to other aspects of business operation.
You can’t discuss the pros and cons of electronic receipts without mentioning marketing i.e. B2B Marketing and B2C Marketing
. This is because the latest technology in creating digital receipts also stores customer information. Asides from this, you can also send personalized messages along with each receipt.
More than anything else, digital receipts help retailers to grow their email lists. This makes it easy to send out copies via email and attract continuous patronage.
Another way e-receipts improve your marketing is that they help to gather customer preferences. With this information, you can improve customer targeting. Now, you can share information with customers based on what they like to buy.
Paper receipts take up a lot of physical real estate in your establishment. Customers also suffer from this and get to lose many receipts before long. Even if the receipts don’t get lost, they end up fading.
Digital receipts solve all these problems easily. They are easier to store because they don’t take up physical storage space. Many digital receipt platforms allow you to store copies in the cloud. Customers can also keep their receipts in the email boxes.
This means both customers and retailers can always access their receipts. As such, it improves your record keeping and accounting processes. Finally, they save you from fraudulent returns which affect your business negatively.
Cons of Digital Receipts
In continuing our discussion about the pros and cons of digital receipts, let’s see some cons.
Requires technical knowledge
Okay, so digital receipts don’t need you to be a super genius. However, both parties (retailers and customers) must have some technical knowledge. Without this, there will be a problem with the process and it won’t deliver the desired results.
By technical knowledge, we mean that the retailer must understand the receipt software. They must also know how to manipulate it to send the receipts to specific customers. After this, they should know how to use the analytics to their benefit.
On the part of the customer, they should have active emails. They must also know how to navigate to each email. While all this seems very simple, some people will battle with handling such tasks.
Very easy to overlook
To be honest, e-receipts make life easy for both customers and retailers on several levels. However, they are also easy to overlook or neglect.
Of course, the retailer will hardly neglect their copies, but what about the customers? Many customers hardly go through their emails if it isn’t work-related. This means that they could overlook digital receipts and never read through them at all.
It is even worse if the customers delete their emails frequently. In such cases, the customers have issues with balancing their checks and handling other accounting operations.
Anything that goes online is at risk of being compromised. This is not to say that digital receipts aren’t safe, however, there is a chance that hackers can compromise the system. What this implies is that customer data can get into the wrong hands.
If this happens, the effects may be more far-reaching than you can ever imagine. Let’s not forget that if the system is compromised, the retailer is also at risk of losing all their data. When this happens and there is no backup, the retailer will face a lot of difficulties.
Looking into the future of digital receipts
Now that we have discussed the pros and cons of digital receipts, let’s look into the future. Certainly, we are experiencing an evolution in how receipts are dispensed but what does the future hold?
Already, digital receipts incorporate surveys to help retailers get feedback from customers. This way, they can improve their products or services. It also helps them to know what additions customers need to enjoy increased patronage.
Electronic receipts are also beginning to feature links to the retailers’ websites. These redirects ensure that retailers improve engagements that contribute to more conversions. Customers can get suggestions to visit the retailer’s website to check out the latest offers.
With digital receipts, customers now have an easier way to track their transactions. This means that they can now monitor their spending habits. Most of all, the records help to prepare them for the tax season.
For retailers who use digital receipts, the future is bright. There is more opportunity to monitor transactional data. They can also keep track of how customers’ purchases change and use this to their advantage.
Digital receipts also come in handy when retailers want to reward their customers. Now they can tell which customers are most active and deserve seasonal rewards. With this, they can attract more customer loyalty than ever.
This post has discussed the pros and cons of digital receipts. We have established how e-receipts can help both retailers and customers. In the final part of this post, we looked at what the future holds for electronic receipts.