I know the Apple Store has been sending out digital receipts since 2005, but I’ve only recently noticed more and more retailers offering digital alternatives to paper receipts as I go about my daily business. If I get a snack at my favorite bakery, Back to Eden, the friendly lady who works the register flips a tablet towards me, and I get to choose if I want my receipt emailed or texted to me before I stroll away with my vegan soft serve ice cream cone. I go jeans shopping, which I loathe with a passion, and now the checkout process is the least traumatizing part of the process. I can get my receipts emailed to me from Nordstrom Rack, Gap, and Urban Outfitters, so if I get home and realize I accidentally bought mom jeans, I don’t have to dig through my purse to find the paper receipt so I can go return them. I just have to check my inbox. I feel very eco-friendly when I leave Whole Foods with my cloth grocery bag filled with locally grown veggies and a receipt in my inbox instead of on paper. And when I attend a craft show, street festival, or trade show, it seems like every booth is armed with an iPad and Square. I don’t remember the last time I got a paper receipt from a local jeweler or handmade soap artisan.
While some of these businesses do a great job of incorporating their digital receipts into their marketing plans, others are missing big opportunities. According to Experian’s Quarterly Email Benchmark Study, transactional emails have a higher open rate than marketing emails. They are also exempt from most provisions of the dreaded CAN-SPAM Act, as long as you’re careful with your subject lines and how much commercial content you include along with the transactional information.
Here are five suggestions that every business owner should consider, whether you’re selling homemade fudge or Seven jeans.
- Include an opt-in- If you have an e-newsletter give your customers a chance to sign up. Remember to tell them why they should join and what valuable content you provide to your loyal e-news subscribers, whether that’s coupons, details about upcoming sales, military appreciation days, recipes, or an update about events you’ll be attending in the future. Don’t automatically add email address you receive from transactions into your drip list. It’s shady and rude. Don’t be that guy.