When receipts began to go digital, its biggest selling point had little to do with direct business impact. It takes 9.6 million trees and 250 gallons of oil to produce the 640,000 tons of paper need to make the world’s receipts, and digital receipts promised to change all that.
On the business side of things, an emailed receipt sped up transactions. And that wasn’t the only thing customers liked about the idea of ditching paper – one electronic receipt sent to your emails is one less piece of paper you’d have to look for come tax time.
Today, digital receipts aren’t just a proof of a sale, anymore, they’re also a tool to grow your business.
With that in mind, let’s look at the five ways you can get more out of your digital receipts.
Start or grow your email communications
Before you can send a digital receipt, you need a place to send it. Just through the course of doing business you’re collecting customer contact information (emails or phone numbers) all day long, which can be used for future retargeting and marketing campaigns.
You’ll need to get permission from your customers before sending them marketing material of course, and a good tactic is to just include the URL for signup on the receipt itself, and then send a single follow-up email a few days later asking them to opt-in.
With a $44 dollar return on every dollar spent, email marketing remains one of the most powerful tactics you can use to reach and engage your customers.
Although just sending out the occasional email isn’t by itself going to get people to start regularly spending money at your venue – what’s important here is that you’re organically getting your new customers’ contact info after each transaction. This sets you up to create future sales, which you can encourage by also using email as a way to notify your customers about upcoming events, promotions or new additions to the menu.
Start or grow a loyalty program
There are plenty of s demonstrating how powerful a loyalty program can be for a hospitality business. According to Oracle’s Global Consumer Survey Recipe for Engagement: Essential Ingredients for a Restaurant Loyalty Program:
- 52 per cent of Australian restaurant-goers are already members of one or more restaurant loyalty programs.
- Only 7 per cent of surveyed Australians say they never join loyalty programs.
- Overall, 43 per cent of respondents want preferential treatment (e.g. birthday discounts and other offers) from the loyalty programs they join.
Digital receipts are a good way of making the benefits of joining your loyalty program much more visible. If you are offering customers an incentive right away by agreeing to join, the sign
In the example below, UK supermarket chain Booths highlights the loyalty rewards a customer earns as part of their purchase prominently on their email receipts. This gives the customer an immediate view of something positive – what they’ve earned – versus just looking at what they’ve spent.
Give personalised coupons
Getting customers’ contact info in order to send them a receipt doesn’t just make it possible to send them communications.
It’s also their unique identifier, which means you can enter them into your point of sale’s customer database. At that point, every time they make a purchase, it’s recorded and saved to their profile. By doing this, you can start to really understand their purchasing habits.
Armed with the information about what they like to eat when they dine with you, you can include a coupon on the receipt, redeemable for something on your menu that you already know they love.
Just put a coupon or QR code right on the receipt, and have them present it the next time they show up. It’s a digital receipt: they can’t lose it!
Promote your social channels to gain followers
We’ve said it before, but it’s worth saying again: Instagram is the ideal social media platform for a restaurant. Its focus on photos and videos is perfect for showcasing your food and your brand, and the platform boasts the most engaged audience of all the social channels.
You can use the white space on your digital receipts to let people know how to find you on Instagram, of course, but you can take it even further than that. Engage customers with contests or incentives to post pictures from their visit.
This isn’t just something fun for your customers, it’s a way to get a steady stream of content tagged with your business, reaching the social audiences of your customers – and all from a few words on a receipt.
Ask Your Customers for Feedback
Getting feedback from your customers isn’t always an easy thing to do, though there are some effective ways to go about it. And here’s another one: ask for it on your digital receipts.
Include a link to a service like SurveyMonkey or to your Yelp or TripAdvisor profile and encourage them to post a review. In either scenario, by asking for feedback on the receipt, you’re getting at your customers while the experience is still fresh in their minds.
Understand, too, that the purpose of the feedback isn’t just receive praise. Use it to find ways to improve. Just because you don’t hear many complaints doesn’t mean you’re doing everything perfectly. The truth is every time one person complains, there are another 26 who choose not say anything at all. You’ll never know if you don’t ask.
To say that you can do more with digital receipts than paper ones is an understatement. Paper is obsolete – it actually slows things down, which is why many businesses (like Pablo & Rusty’s Coffee Roasters) have already gone paperless.
While paper receipts are still the most common way of doing things, digital receipts have very obvious upsides. By removing your receipt printer from the equation, you can literally do more with less, and reduce your carbon footprint while you’re at it. What are you waiting for?