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3 Top reasons to start sending email receipts

02 August 2012  |  3381 views  |  2

Email receipts are a highly underutilised tool. They are an incredible addition to your communication suite, an opportunity to cross sell and they enhance future marketing, yet only a handful of bricks and mortar retailers are actually using them.

I believe all retailers should move to email receipts - for purely selfish reasons. I am sick of sifting through grubby, crumpled bits of processed tree in my wallet. I want to start organising my purchases wisely, effectively and easily. I want to stop digging into the crevasses hoping I saved that bit of scrap with £5 off.

And it is for those reasons alone that I give you my three top reasons to start sending email receipts:


In some stores it seems as if it now takes ages to checkout. By the time the salesperson has asked me for my phone number, post code, first line of my address and my first dog’s favourite food, I am often left wishing I had trolled online for that woolly jumper. It is annoying at best and like most of you, I feel like I just inherited a stalker.

Instead of asking if you can have a customer’s email address in order to add them to your “VIP” list, offer them an email receipt instead and watch the response change. Suddenly, you are enhancing their experience. You now offer them a chance to make life easy, should they want to make a return. And, you can softly and gently make them a transpromo offer of 10% off their next purchase when the receipt hits their inbox.


Asking a customer for their email address in order for you to issue an email receipt is a sure fire way to get an accurate path to your customer’s inbox. If a correct address is the only way a customer will be able to return an item, you can bet your bottom dollar that you will be given the correct information.

Most retailers now know that having a proper email address for a client is fundamental to driving inexpensive marketing campaigns and further footfall.


In 2012, many IT bloggers have taken on the analogy of online being a wave, and mobile being a tsunami. The numbers certainly support the case. There are nearly 6 billion mobile subscribers now, which is roughly 87% of the world’s population. It won't be long before many mobile Web users will be mobile only as the sales of Smartphones indicate. 486 million were sold in 2011 alone compared with 365 million PCs.

Email receipts are an easy way to make your marketing strategies more relevant to the way customers are accessing your campaigns. Email receipts land in your customer’s inbox, which nowadays means it’s on their smartphone. These are transactional emails that can be easily rendered for every mobile device, ensuring your transpromo opportunities are displayed pretty as a picture on those Smartphone screens.

Companies can no longer rely on websites alone to sell their goods. Apps and mobile rendered emails are current ways to literally make your way into the hands of the consumer.


Please do something for me and I’ll do something for you... Email receipts are a perfect quid pro quo. Your customer receives a better experience and news on promotions, while you get sales and loyalty.






Comments: (3)

Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune | 03 August, 2012, 17:44

e-receipt undoubtedly complements payments initiated from a smartphone e.g. Pay with Square.

However, in a general context, I see the following hurdles in front of this technology:

  1. Being images, e-receipts likely occupy a lot of space. Question is, how many e-receipts can realistically fit into an entry-level smartphone with limited phone memory.  
  2. Whether e-receipts are stored as images in the smartphone's gallery or as email attachments inside its email app, searching for one e-receipt among many other e-receipts and all other kinds of images in a smartphone may not be so simple since neither app has search functionality, at least not on any smartphone that I've come across.
  3. Legal validity of e-receipts to prove proof of purchase.

If these issues are ironed out, I'm sure e-receipts will gather traction and enter the mainstream sooner rather than later.

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A Finextra member
A Finextra member | 07 August, 2012, 19:31

Thanks for the comments! I am glad to see interest in email receipts!

It is important to keep in mind that email receipts are not sent as images but rather as PDF attachments, so fortunately the storage issues you mentioned on Smartphones won't be a concern for retailers. Emails are generally saved on web servers or if a customer desires, they can download the PDF and store it in a folder on their PC.

Your comment about the legality is an interesting one. Currently, there are no regulatory issues around what constitutes a receipt; it is entirely up to a retailer to choose how to provide proof of purchase. Usually, there are unique numbers or identifiers tied to a transaction. As tampering happens on the user end, it is of an equal issue with paper or digital receipts.

Thanks again for your comments; I really appreciate you reading the blog!

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Ketharaman Swaminathan
Ketharaman Swaminathan - GTM360 Marketing Solutions - Pune | 08 August, 2012, 10:32

TY for your response.

From our experience with eBills / eStatements solutions, we noticed that even PDF format is quite heavy! Hope the same is not the case with eReceipts, which are physically often smaller than bills and statements.

I'm aware that retailers use identifiers like mod10 to authenticate their receipts. Generally, disputes happen when customers are unaware of these identifiers and can't verify them at the time of receiving the receipts but retailers contest their claims later. These disputes could potentially increase with e-receipts, which can be PhotoShopped.

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