Digital Receipts

Blog: Why Digital Receipts Hold the Future – and Paper Receipts Are a Relic of the Past

October 25, 2022  |  REINT JAN HOLTERMAN

This morning on my way to the office, I bought a cup of coffee to-go, as usual. The coffee was poured into a biodegradable, disposable paper cup, complete with a paper lid. Together with this (very hot!) cup, the person behind the counter handed me a paper receipt as well, without even asking. Being in a hurry, I simply put the receipt in my pocket while trying to catch my train.

A few minutes later, while commuting, I was reflecting upon this everyday event of buying coffee in paper cups, and how these cups reduce plastic waste. But at the same time, I wondered why the coffee vendor handed me a receipt, too. Being environmentally-conscious to me would also mean not having paper receipts for purchases like these – or maybe not at all anymore.

As long as I can remember, paper receipts have been used in stores. And not only in stores, vending machines also “hand out” paper receipts after payment, e.g., after paying for a public transportation ticket or at the parking lot. We’re so used to it that we probably don’t even notice that we get a receipt multiple times a day, like I did when getting a coffee. However, paper receipts are a relic of the past – and there are alternatives that not only benefit the environment, but also the retailer as well as the consumer.

To start with the latter: as a consumer I would honestly be much happier to receive digital receipts rather than paper receipts. Why? Well, I cannot lose my receipts any longer or misplace them. This may not be a big deal for coffee receipts, but in case of a more expensive purchase like a new suit, or a gift for a friend’s birthday, this is different.

For retailers, I can imagine the benefits of having digital receipts over paper ones are much bigger. First of all, digital receipts are much cheaper since no printers, paper, ink or electricity are required anymore. And printers that are not used also do not need maintenance every now and then. Secondly, digital receipts are way more eco-friendly than their paper cousins. Going digital helps retailers to reduce their carbon footprint and meet their sustainability goals quicker. 

But there is another huge benefit that may be less obvious: the digital receipt can be turned into another touchpoint in the online-to-offline (O2O) customer journey. Or rather the other way around: the offline-to-online journey, as the digital receipt can be used to link a physical purchase in-store to a next purchase online (or in store). The digital receipt can be enriched with, for example, a hyperlink to the retailer’s website to enroll in a loyalty program. But probably more interesting would be to offer a personalized link that lets consumers unlock an offer specifically for them. As the underlying marketing system knows what you bought (and on which day, in what store, combined with which other items, etc.) – since this is all information already kept on the digital receipt– it can present the customer with a highly targeted offer. 

Taking it one step further: part of having digital receipts means you will be storing all transactional data for all customers at a central place, most likely in the cloud. Doing so, as a retailer you will have access to a wealth of data that can be analyzed on any level to optimize store inventory and supply chain processes, but also to personalize shopping journeys and improve customer loyalty. Digital receipts let retailers unlock the power of data and turn these data into real-time actionable insights.

So, digital receipts are a great opportunity for retailers to interact with their customers. And perhaps the best part: it can be done strictly anonymously, if the customer prefers to do it that way. Loyalty campaigns can be personalized and hand out tailor-made offers to anonymous shoppers, which basically means any customer now can be addressed with relevant offers and promotions. This gives retailers, be it in grocery, fashion, specialty, fuel, quick-serve restaurants, or you name it – tons of possibilities to do upsell and cross-sell. With a digital receipt, the end of an in-store journey will automatically become the start of the next journey! 

Diebold Nixdorf supports retailers and customers to digitize receipts with Vynamic® Digital Receipt, a new solution based on technology from our partner Anybill. Diebold Nixdorf has adopted this solution into its POS ecosystem by integrating it with its cloud-native Vynamic Retail Platform. At checkout, Vynamic Digital Receipt allows retailers to share the receipt via email or immediately in the retailer’s loyalty app. But in case the customer wants to stay anonymous, retailers also have the ability to present a QR code on a customer-facing screen at the point of sale. Customers can then scan this code without the need to be registered. The digital receipt can then be stored as a PDF on the customer’s smartphone.

Curious to learn more? Download the product sheet for Vynamic Digital Receipt.

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