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Opinion: The missed revenue opportunity of e-receipts


Email receipts (e-receipts) have an important role to play in multi-channel customer engagement and revenue generation. Ian Tomlinson, CEO of cloud-based retail solutions provider Cybertill explains how e-receipts can complete a delivery service and provide additional opportunities.
Ian Tomlinson CybertillWhile e-receipts are the easiest way into a customer’s inbox and can be the entry vehicle for a continuous shopping experience across store and online retail channels, they are arguably the most under-utilised form of marketing for loyalty and promotions.

Notwithstanding a few concerns that e-receipts could open the door to more email spamming, well over half of consumers today want an electronic proof of purchase and find paper receipts an inconvenience. Failing to issue e-receipts is a missed revenue opportunity and a quick and lucrative win for many instore retailers.

A digital receipt delivered straight to the shopper’s inbox is environmentally friendly, easy to find and an ideal, subtle call to action. The email might include an exclusive “thank you” promotion, a URL to an ecommerce website or support site, a way to up social media “Likes”, a cut price delivery option with the next purchase, or an invitation to a special event – and as many other ways as retailers can think of to exploit their EPoS or retail management system.

E-receipts enable physical retailers to bridge their online stores immediately after the sale and facilitate a continual flow of cross-channel engagement. The new millennial shopper’s best friend, the smartphone, is the muscle between the digital and physical retail worlds. E-receipts are the entry point to immediate smart communication and continued customer engagement.

For online retailers, email receipts are a necessity – but should be used more creatively for marketing, loyalty, promotions and cross-channel fertilisation. E-receipts enable instore retailers to capture compliant email marketing data as their online rivals do, and start a customer conversation.

Could e-Receipts be the future of retail email marketing and the starting point of new customer engagement for bricks and mortar shops? With e-receipts high on the wish list of many shoppers, why wouldn’t a retailer offer the facility? Surely it’s a win-win for both?

Providing data is collected compliantly, offers customer opt-out facilities and is securely stored to meet data protection legislation, e-receipts could be the best opportunity available for physical retailers to start a customer relationship and maintain the engagement process.

From the retailer’s perspective:

Emma Ware of schoolwear retailer A Class Apart –

“We decided to use e-receipts as we bought an iPad to take to school open days where we sell uniform. Obviously, the iPad isn’t connected to the printer at such times so it is more professional and easier to send the receipt by email.

In addition, in the summer it gets really busy in the shop with uniform sales so again we can use the iPad as a second till and ensure that customers get their receipts. It also means we’re capturing more customer information on our database for marketing use in the future.”

Paul Hinds of jewellery retail chain F Hinds –

“E-receipts are particularly good for high-value items such as jewellery. It reassures customers to know that if they lose a paper receipt we will have kept a record and it helps us improve our service by removing any complications. In our industry, e-receipts act as the proof of purchase; they prevent customer frustration and save staff time if problems arise. Some watches and diamonds have a life-time guarantee. E-receipts are invaluable here as we will be able to get all the information we need instantly even though the purchase may have taken place some years ago.

E-receipts are also great way of capturing customer details and recording each transaction for future reference. At F Hinds, we’re trying to get a single view of the customer across our website and stores so we can see what they’re buying instore and what they’re buying online. The e-receipt functionality with our RetailStore system will be instrumental in this.”
Ian Tomlinson, CEO of cloud-based retail solutions provider Cybertill

Main photo credit:

  • Flickr Creative Commons

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