Friday, February 17, 2012

Are Digital Receipts the Wave of the Future?

If you have visited an Apple® store in the last few years, you've noticed that they offer the option to receive a digital (paperless) receipt instead of a traditional paper receipt at the time of purchase. Other large retailers including WalMart, Nordstrom, Whole Foods, Gap, Sears and KMart are implementing paperless receipts as well. But are receipt paper rolls in jeopardy of becoming a thing of the past? Let's review what digital options retailers and consumers currently have to choose from:

Retailer Software

Companies like My Receipts, AllEtronic and Seamless Receipts now offer a platform that allows any retailer to offer eReceipts. With this new software, retailers now have the ability to track customer purchases and target their marketing more than ever before. There may still be stumbling blocks to consider however. While the e-receipt presents new marketing opportunities for retailers, many consumers worry about possible privacy issues as well as the automatic addition to mailing lists.

Newcomer Proximiant has a slightly different approach that may alleviate customer apprehension. Proximiant enables customers to have receipts beamed directly to their smartphone without having to share personal information with the store. The Customer simply installs a digital receipts app on their smart phone and then taps the phone on a small device at the checkout counter.

Consumer Hardware

If you aren't quite ready to make the transition from paper receipt, to digital receipt, there are other options available. A scanner with digital filing software from companies like The Neat Company, Fujitsu and Brother will scan, organize and store receipts and other important documents on your computer. In addition, a company named Lemon utilizes a smartphone application that allows you to snap a photo of a receipt which can be tagged for future reference.

For most consumers, the biggest benefits come during tax season. With digital receipts, all the purchases made earlier in the year are easily accessible. Digital receipts also ensure customers can make returns if need be, thereby enhancing the customer's experience. What is your take on digital receipts? Do you see it as the wave of the future? Do you see any other stumbling blocks that would prevent widespread implementation? We'd love to hear your feedback!