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The Green Sheet Online Edition

September 26, 2011 • Issue 11:09:02

Making use of receipt real estate

By Stephen Enfield
POS Supply Solutions

Now more than ever, businesses are looking for ways to stretch their sales and marketing budgets. Utilizing a credit card receipt to cross sell products and services is one of the most cost-effective marketing vehicles available. Unlike traditional advertisements, the receipt actually leaves the store and stays with the customer. This means information printed on the receipt, if presented properly, will catch the eye of customers and could compel them to action.

Educating your customers on the benefits of receipt advertising is a win-win situation. Providing merchants with this value-added service not only gives them the tools to further grow their business; it helps you stand out from the competition.

Technological advances have made it easier than ever to add custom content to credit card receipts. We spoke with three major credit card terminal manufacturers, Ingenico, VeriFone Inc. and Hypercom Corp., to determine their printing capabilities.

Harnessing advanced technology

A representative at Hypercom gave us the following information: "Optimum terminals with printers (Optimum T4205, T4210, T4220 and T4230 countertops, M4240 Bluetooth, and M4230 GPRS mobile terminals) can print eight lines of merchant-specific information, including logos and graphics, and can print between 10 to 15 lines per second."

Tobi North, who oversees channel marketing for VeriFone, said, "Using our devices and SoftPay, merchants can program messages and coupons into their payment devices. Up to six lines of print are available in the header and up to four lines in the footer. Using basic settings, a merchant is able to set up static messages. Using the automation tools in VeriCentre allows merchants to change or rotate special messaging or coupons. You can also program the device to print logos or images."

Gregory Boardman, Senior Vice President Product and Development at Ingenico, stated, "We have worked with millions of retailers worldwide, and in our experience, we have seen the receipt play a vital role in the POS transaction - from the very smallest mom-and-pop merchant to the largest retailer."

Ingenico software allows the user to print as many lines as needed on their receipts. While a receipt header is typically three to four lines, there is no set limitation with Ingenico terminals. Their solutions enjoy a variety of innovations to help customers manage and maintain their terminal estates. These include content delivery and updates.

Features such as dual communications, automated post call scheduling and thin client technology provide new and unobtrusive ways to update content to the POS. Many choices simplify the way content is delivered so that advertising campaigns can be updated more frequently.

Getting the word out

Ingenico has long recognized the connection between the inherent potential of utilizing transaction receipts for advertisement or message conveyance to provide value to both cardholders and merchants. The receipt is one of the few opportunities that merchants have to present meaningful information to the cardholder.

"The process of adding content to the receipt is not a new one but has become easier over time," Boardman said. "I can recall that even back in the early '90s, certain manufacturers used receipt logos as a way to differentiate their products. As time passed, some manufacturers invested quite heavily in the systems required to pass advertisement and coupon data to a POS terminal in a managed fashion, but most failed due to performance limitations.

"The biggest impediment to this evolution has always been the technology. Most of the POS devices during these early periods used dial connections, and terminal estates employed disparate applications, making the prospect of seamless content management a troubled one."

The near ubiquity of Ethernet connectivity combined with the introduction of more robust POS devices has paved the way for a more manageable, practical system of managing content delivery to the POS.

We also spoke with First Data Corp. representatives about the company's FD line of terminals. They explained that their terminals can print up to six customizable lines in the header and four in the footer.

Putting receipts to work

Here are a few ideas you can share with your merchant customers to help them use credit card receipts as sales and marketing tools:

    Logos and website: If you are new to receipt marketing, the first place to start is the receipt header. This is the area at the very top of the receipt, above the transaction information. Normally, a standard header will include the company name, address and phone number. Just by adding a logo, you now have a simple way to promote your company, build brand awareness and provide a more professional appearance.

    If your business has a website, this is also a great place to promote it. If you have an online store, the addition of a website address will allow customers an alternative to shopping in a retail location.

    Coupons and specials: To add additional information to the receipt, look no further than the footer located at the very bottom of the receipt, below the transaction information. Simply by adding a coupon or special, you help customers save money as well as drive incremental revenue and increase guest frequency. During these tough economic times, many customers base purchase decisions on sales and specials. Promotions are a great way to edge out the competition.

    Email registration: Email registration can help to build a strong relationship with your customer. Stay in the forefront of their mind with regular emails that promote sales, specials and company news. Offering an incentive at the time of sign up will help boost registration rates.

    Survey customers: Show customers you value their opinion, and receive valuable data in the process. Surveys not only drive customers to your website; they also provide important feedback.

    Training employees: Now that you have some pointers on how to market to your customers, be sure your customers see the message. It is vital that you train your staff to point out the message by circling or highlighting it with a marker in order to increase read rates.

    Taking it one step further: In addition to printing messages directly onto receipts, you may also want to consider using custom-printed receipt paper rolls. Your message can be printed in full color, which has been shown in studies to increase customer retention.

As you can see, by simply adding a logo or a special message to a credit card receipt, your customer is taking advantage of a marketing tool that is sure to increase sales and customer retention. Not utilizing this simple tool is certainly a missed opportunity. end of article

Stephen Enfield founded POS Supply Solutions in 1999 and has over two decades of experience in the point of sale industry, working with large multinational accounts as well as small business accounts. Stephen is an innovative, entrepreneurial professional with an unwavering focus on customer satisfaction and a down to earth approach. For more information, visit www.possupply.com, or contact Stephen at or 888-431-5800.

The Green Sheet Inc. is now a proud affiliate of Bankcard Life, a premier community that provides industry-leading training and resources for payment professionals. Click here for more information.

Notice to readers: These are archived articles. Contact names or information may be out of date. We regret any inconvenience.

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