Digital vs Paper Receipts: Which Should You Be Using in Your Business?

Growing your business all comes down to the fine detail – so why should the way you manage your receipts be any different?



Digital-vs-Paper-Receipts

You’re after new ways to invigorate your business, as growing business owners often are. Every interaction counts and sends a ripple effect throughout your organisation. What that usually means is looking at all the touchpoints for your brand. One of the most important touchpoints to consider is how you manage your receipts.

Receipts are used to give all the details of a transaction for both the buyer and the seller. Your clients need proof of their purchase, and you need proof of your sale, so it’s a win-win situation.

Your customer doesn’t have to take a receipt if they don’t want it. It’s their choice. If you’ve seen a customer walking away whilst stuffing a crumpled receipt in their back pocket, you’ll know people often accept a receipt with no intention of seeing it again. Until they need to return a product and eish, there isn’t a receipt in sight. Remember this point for later on.

Paper receipts are how businesses have been keeping track of their sales for years, and they’re still an effective tool to use. That being said, we can’t ignore that we are in the midst of a digital transformation that has extended all the way to the financial technology that we use.

How do e-receipts work?

Paper receipts have been a reliable tool, sure. But they have their drawbacks which ultimately led to the development of the digital receipt.

Before we jump into how they work, let’s dip into what they are.

A digital receipt will have all the required information like the company name, VAT, date of purchase and the paid amount. After the customer has paid, you will get their email and send a receipt directly to their inbox.

So, when your customer comes to pay, you will,

  1. Ask them what type of receipt they would like: paper, digital or none?
  2. If they opt for digital, you will enter their email and send the receipt on its way.
  3. All of the data will be read, recorded and stored for future marketing use or analysis.

Services that are run via mobile could electronically distribute receipts via in-app features, like Uber. Those would also be considered digital receipts, although the more widely used method you’ll interact with is via email.

Now, we always want to give you the whole picture. So we’re going to talk about the pros and cons of using digital receipts for your sales, and you can make the decision from there.

The benefits of digital receipts

Digital-vs-Paper-Receipt

Collect data whilst making sales

Sending somebody a receipt means you automatically have their email on your system – a handy thing to have if you’re riding the powerful wave of email marketing.

Having digital receipts on hand means you have extra insight into each particular customer’s buying habits: what they’re buying, when they’re buying and how much they’re spending. For businesses who are serious about exponential growth, this kind of data is invaluable and not to be missed out on.

Lower your costs (and your chemical exposure)

Overheads? Axe them wherever you can. There are plenty of places your money can be well used, and perhaps tiny slips of printed paper is not one of them.

Printing dozens if not hundreds or thousands of receipts per day adds up – you have to have rolls of thermal paper on hand to replace whenever your paper runs out. A significant amount of money goes into a proof of purchase that fades when exposed to heat, is often thrown away and happens to contain pretty harmful chemicals.

Additionally, thermal paper contains the chemicals bisphenol A (BPA) and S (BPS). You know, the chemicals you avoid having in your child’s bottle or in your food? Where you can avoid having anything toxic entering your body or reaching your employees and customers, you should.

Bring customers into your online world

It’s difficult to bring non-digital customers into your online space, considering that interaction needs to happen offline.

Purchase points are great entryways to introducing customers to your online presence and marketing. Digital receipts give you the opportunity to display sales, discounts and promo codes. You will also get to know your offline customers better, gaining a deeper understanding of their brand loyalty and purchase decisions.

Connect with a wider net of buyers who you would have otherwise missed if they decided to take a paper receipt and be on their merry way.

Boost your omnichannel practices

Omnichannel is a marketing strategy which seeks to create a seamless shopping experience, whether they’re shopping instore, online or over the phone. If you’re thinking about an omnichannel strategy, digital receipts are a good place to start.

You are making a specific brand statement about the personality and capabilities of your business. Going digital with your purchase practices means offering your customers a world of new and interesting touchpoints to engage with your brand.

A big part of the omnichannel experience is personalisation, which is simple to do when you’re emailing receipts. You can target the mailer to the correct market, address the buyer by their name and even cross-sell relevant products for future purchases.

Do your part for the environment

Businesses have a social responsibility to get on board with sustainability in the small areas that they can.

Chemicals aren’t the only damaging aspect of thermal paper; it is also unhealthy for the environment. Not all people recycle, and even if they do, thermal receipt paper is non-recyclable.

Easily access all sales

E-receipts for customers are often accompanied by a similar system for merchant receipts.

Have you ever experienced the overwhelming panic that comes with having boxes and boxes of receipts to deal with? Paper receipts take up space and require extensive attention and detailed organisation. We know that when you’re busy, the latter two points tend to easily fall by the wayside.

Your customer is likely to have the same issue. For example, they want to return an item but can’t find their receipt, which you require for exchanges or returns. Beinge stuck with a product they don’t use or enjoy creates poor brand associations. You want your patrons to conjure up good thoughts about your products, not disgruntled ones because, they couldn’t return an ill-fitting Christmas gift.

Businesses in today’s workforce cannot rely on paper receipts for their administration. Instead, send all the evidence of every sale you’ve ever made straight up into the cloud or onto your (backed-up) system.

Things to keep in mind

Now, we told you we would give you the full picture, and there are some elements to bear in mind before you introduce email receipts.

Consumers value their privacy. With recent spikes in identity theft and big data exposure, it is tricky to get some customers to share their information.

When you decide to take digital receipts on board, you also need to take on extra digital security measures. If your systems are hacked, all of your customers’ information is left vulnerable and can have serious legal repercussions sprinkled with a painfully awkward PR announcement.

An added reservation is that they will be inundated with marketing material that clutters their inbox.

It is up to you to be smart about what you send. No intention of using your customers’ email for digital marketing? Display this at your till point to boost trust: “Emails for digital receipts only”. Just be sure to stick to your word.

Who do I talk to about going digital?

Digital-vs-Paper-Receipts

We would suggest talking to us, iKhokha.

The Mover Pro card machine by iKhokha is an environmentally friendly device that doesn’t print paper and instead only operates using emailed receipts. And our clients love it.

The Mover Pro makes accepting card transactions easier than ever and sets you on the right path towards digitally transforming your business through comprehensive app features, payment tracking and storing and, you guessed it, an effective e-receipt system.

This system isn’t limited to emails. You can also ask customers for their cell phone numbers to send a receipt to their mobile phone. Do you want to save money? Increase your marketing reach? Offer your customers more convenience? Digital receipts are the right move for your brand.

Going digital on purchase points is one of the smartest decisions you can make. And we make it easier for you to get there.

Sarah Heron

Sarah is an ideas-driven writer and researcher who's passionate about creating content that helps businesses grow. She believes that digital communication and mobile innovation, when paired with human-centric concepts, are key drivers for the greater good. When she's not writing, she probably has her nose in a good book.

Related articles

iKhokha shaker solo card machine

Getting the Most Out of Your Shaker Solo Card Machine

WiFi enabled with a 3G connection and a built-in printer, the Shaker Solo is the wireless card machine you need to grow your business.. Read more
iKhokha Cash Registers

Does My Business Need a Cash Register?

Let’s find you the best cash register option to help you increase sales, monitor transactions and to boost your return on investment.. Read more
iKhokha card machines

The Best Mobile Card Machines for Small Businesses

Grow your business with our mobile card machines. No monthly rental fees. No contracts. Low transaction rates. Leading customer support!. Read more
Send or Print a Receipt with the Shaker

Send or Print a Receipt with the Shaker

The Shaker gives you the option to email or SMS the digital copy of a transaction or print a receipt for your customer.. Read more