Many businesses have considered getting rid of paper receipts… and many governments are encouraging other businesses to take the plunge. But what are the consequences for your business? Read on to learn some of the benefits of digital-only receipts — and the drawbacks.
Laws Are Changing
Paper receipts seem like a small thing, but they have a surprising environmental impact. In addition to creating paper waste, some studies have found that the chemicals in thermal paper (commonly used in receipts) are toxic.
Many businesses now give customers the option of refusing a paper receipt at check-out. But many cities, states, and countries are considering encouraging them to go a step further. California lawmakers have proposed bills to ban paper receipts, and it’s likely other areas will follow suit.
Setting aside the law, plenty of good reasons to implement digital receipts exist. Unfortunately, there are reasons why many businesses have held off, too.
Why Don’t Businesses Switch to Digital Receipts?
While there are strong rationales for moving over to digital receipts, it’s no mystery why many businesses haven’t made the switch. Many businesses (especially small- and mid-size ones) worry about the return on investment. Some digital receipt solutions cost a ton of money to implement and maintain, in licensing fees, troubleshooting, and employee training. (Thankfully, many of these concerns are overblown. There are plenty of affordable and easy-to-implement services out there.)
Also, there’s no way around it — many customers don’t have smartphones, and can’t get a receipt via a text message. Some won’t even be able to receive an emailed receipt. And if they can receive these, they may not want to: some customers still prefer the feeling of security they get from having a physical receipt in their hand.
The Case for Digital Receipts
In addition to the legal pressures some businesses may face to make the switch, there are several practical reasons to implement digital receipts at your business. Some of the most compelling reasons are the most obvious: reducing paper saves money, reduces clutter, and has other significant benefits to workflow and efficiency.
But there are hidden benefits to making the switch, too. With digital receipts, it’s easy to implement loyalty codes and track their redemption. Both sides of the interaction have 24/7 access to transaction information, and it’s easy for businesses to create and send customers personalized, relevant offers based on their transaction history.
Paperless receipts are a major business trend. By choosing a quality service, you can reap the benefits of digital receipts and related loyalty and coupon programs, without the hassle of a costly and challenging implementation process.