Retail Receipts By Email

By Mike Maddaloni on Sunday, October 25, 2009 at 04:59 PM with 3 comments

photo of retail receipt over a foot longUpon returning home from even a short shopping trip – be careful, be very careful. As you open up your wallet or purse, do it very slowly as you could be seriously injured. Why? The larger-than-necessary register receipts you got at each retail establishment can spring out and surprise you!

Of course this is an exaggeration, but have you noticed the length of the receipt you got at the retail store lately? It isn’t just a record of your purchases anymore. It will include large branding, upsell offers (though you already checked out), enticements to enter contests to win prizes by completing a customer service survey, among other verbose information. In most cases, this “extra stuff” takes up more space on the receipt than the list of items purchased. The pictures receipt, from Walgreens for a few items, is over a foot long.

There has to be a better way. Many stores know exactly who you are for many reasons – they will ask you directly, you have a “membership” card for the store and some even track information about you based on your credit card number. You already get information from stores by email or post mail, why not do the same with your proof of purchase?

Rather than give you this monstrous piece of paper, why not just email it to you, or make it available in a Web portal? There may be some local laws which require a receipt upon purchase. How about send it by SMS (or as we say in the US, text message)? The message will have the purchase Id, which can be looked up online or at the kiosk in the store. If I am registered with the store, I can receive an email with an attached PDF of the receipt or my purchase detailed in the message body. All purchases would be available online. Hey, can’t you do this already with Amazon.com?

There are many reasons to do this, and here they are in no particular order. One is environmental, saving paper and ink. The other is convenience, so people don’t have to have all kinds of slips of paper stuffed away. Most important to me is organizational – if I need to submit a receipt for an expense, I have it available to me at anytime and from any device on the Internet.

So brick-and-mortar retailers, are you in? I hear Apple stores already do this, which doesn’t surprise me. How about the major grocery conglomerates like Supervalu, Kroger, Ahold and Wal-Mart? Help the consumer save a tree, space and time all while being forward-thinking and trendy like Apple.


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