As well as providing consumers with a range of benefits, paper receipts offer the retailer plenty of marketing opportunities, including voucher space, brand trust, and simply giving the customer what they want
“Paper receipts offer brands something highly valuable: trust”
There’s little doubt that paper receipts offer a range of advantages to the consumer. They provide instant proof of purchase, irrefutable evidence that brings with it a host of legal rights and peace of mind, as well as a physical reminder of purchases that can help the consumer budget and keep track of their money.
But paper receipts also offer plenty of benefits to the retailer, helping them to engage with their customers and build trust in the brand. While many retailers are trying to force their customers to accept digital receipts, many others are rediscovering the value in paper and the opportunities it brings.
Brand in the hand
One of the key advantages of paper receipts is the advertising space it offers. As the receipt is printed in-store, there’s very little cost associated with running the ads and they can be run as many times as you like. One key difference between paper and digital receipts is that most people will look at the paper version to double-check they’re being charged the correct amount, while a lot fewer will look at an emailed receipt.
But rather than straight advertising, many retailers take this opportunity to offer the customer discount vouchers for their own products or partner brands. After all, they are already in the store when they receive the voucher, making them more open to offers. A study conducted by Forrester Consulting showed that 78% of voucher users feel positive towards a brand offering vouchers as an incentive, while 62% feel that offering vouchers improved a company’s brand image.
The physical factor
Of course, you could argue that a digital receipt has an infinite amount of space to advertise in or add any number of vouchers. But aside from the tricky task of getting the customer to open the email in the first place, paper receipts have a physical presence that provide a constant reminder of a brand.
When coupled with a voucher, that physical presence also results in paper receipts staying in the home longer. Data from the IPA Touchpoints study confirms that 69% of people have a specific place in the house where they store advertising mail such as vouchers, catalogues, brochures and coupons.
People prefer paper
But when it comes to retail success, one of the major tasks for any brand is to keep their customers happy, and research has found that when it comes to receipts, consumers simply prefer paper. A worldwide study by Toluna found that 58% of the total group said they preferred paper, with that figure rising to 69% for consumers in the UK and 71% in the US.
One of the key findings in the survey was that people want the right to choose which format they get their receipt in. Over half (51%) of consumers would be unhappy if stores no longer offered paper receipts, while 41% said they wouldn’t trust a retailer that didn’t offer paper receipts.
So rather than simply being an inconvenience for the retailer and a barrier to getting customers online, paper receipts actually offer brands something highly valuable: trust. And you can’t put a price on that.