The Green Sheet Online Edition
January 25, 2010 • Issue 10:01:02
Mobile trends applied to brick-and-mortar
Through a partnership with digital technology provider TransactionTree Inc., payment terminal manufacturer Hypercom Corp. is offering the option of e-mail receipts with its L4150 terminal.
Digital receipts are growing increasingly common with the proliferation of platforms that use cell phones as payment and payment acceptance devices. But this offering from Hypercom and TransactionTree is unique for integrating the digital service into what is essentially a conventional brick-and-mortar terminal. The service is provided through software installed in the L4150 device and connected to the TransactionTree server.
The digital receipts reportedly offer numerous advantages. They:
- Are more environmentally friendly than paper
- Are cheaper than paper receipts (the expenses for which include paper, ink, printer maintenance, and storage)
- Afford new marketing opportunities to merchants
- Are dramatically easier to organize than batches of paper
Consumers who pay on the L4150 terminal have the option of receiving a regular paper receipt or an e-mail receipt. They select their preference using the terminal's stylist, which can also be used to enter personal information like the e-mail address to which the receipt is sent and, in some cases, other information like a phone number.
Marketing opportunities added on
Merchants who use the service may also include things like coupons, promotional offers and other advertisements, and even pictures of their products on the e-mail receipt. Consumers who opt to receive digital receipts are also given the decision whether or not to accept such offers along with their transaction information.
Stuart Taylor, Vice President of Global Marketing for Hypercom, said having e-mail receipts double as marketing platforms can be particularly effective with loyalty programs that use points and other enticements to increase customer retention, and which tend to be most effective when customers are communicated with and notified of store offers.
"It ties a loyalty program - which is the basket of goods- to a real user through the e-mail address, and at the same time offers the consumer a service in the fact that it's a digital receipt," Taylor said.
Jason Shapiro, Chief Executive Officer of TransactionTree, added that a receipt's advertisement or offer can be tailored to an individual consumer based on his or her spending history at a given store. "Our service and system moves away from old campaign-based marketing - spamming everyone at the end of the month - to more of a real-time service," he said. "It's an 'I just bought shoes so I may be interested in socks' type of a service."
More manageable than paper
Shapiro added that digital receipts are neater and easier to organize than their paper counterparts for both merchants and consumers "Imagine if you went on a business trip and could access all your receipts digitally how much easier your expense report would be," he said. He also noted that even when a customer opts for a paper receipt, the merchant still gets a digital copy instead of a paper one.
Shapiro said TransactionTree also offers online "repositories," or Web sites supported by the company's server where merchants and consumers can see their transaction histories away from their e-mail accounts. Thus, shoppers or merchants deluged with e-mails can delete their receipts and still have another place to view them.
"It's reflective of increasing awareness of sustainability, so I think it's a win-win all around," Taylor said. "For retailers, there's a lot of cost involved in producing [paper] receipts. And this offers them, with the loyalty programs, some opportunities to access the consumer. And it gives the consumer an opportunity to contribute to helping the environment and reduce the use of paper."
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