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Death of the paper receipt

Wednesday, 16 February, 2011

Alongside music CD’s, newspapers, roadmaps and magazines, the paper receipt is climbing the ranks of the “obsolete list” brought on by the digital age.

Consumers are becoming more and more engaged in streamlining information digitally and making social decisions to help reduce waste and environmental impact brought on by personal consumption. According to allEtronic, an estimated 9.6 million trees are cut each year for receipts in the United States alone.
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Payment processing companies are listening and developing new technologies to help advance this notion by introducing retailers with systems that produce paperless receipts. As Jennifer Miles, Retail Systems Manager at VeriFone, puts it “we’re changing the way we shop. Customers are starting to want electronic receipts.”

With more and more consumers opting for paperless receipts, many major retailers have been quick to adopt the technology. Apple, Gap Inc. (including Old Navy and Banana Republic), Nordstrom, Anthropologie, Patagonia and Sears to name a few, currently offer the ability to e-mail receipts or send them to password protected Web sites. Nordstrom goes as far as introducing the “roving clerk” equipped with mobile payment devices to check out shoppers on the spot.

Electronic receipts also offer businesses the opportunity to connect longer with customers even after the purchase is complete. Many see it as a new marketing initiative by including additional information on the digital receipt such as links to brand websites, product info, exclusive offers and complementary items to that specific purchase.

So next time you make a purchase, opt for an electronic receipt and reduce waste, help save a tree and who knows, perhaps it will lead you to your next purchase with little or no effort!