As the retail industry faces ongoing disruptions, largely caused by the pandemic, customers continue to hold the power in retail relationships. In a battle for the attention of their target audience, retailers have had to enhance and up their customer experience game like never before by aligning with the individual needs and values of their customers, offering personalised experiences to draw shoppers in. 

To deliver a seamless experience without appearing intrusive, retailers must adopt a data-driven, customer centric approach. By leveraging technologies that deliver rich customer insights, such as smart receipts, bricks and mortar retailers finally have the power to consistently identify a single-view of customers across channels and offer the personalised shopping experiences they’re looking for. 

Time to get intuitive about your customers

With 54% of Australians indicating they prefer products or services that are personalised, customers are waiting for retailers to anticipate their needs. Offering an efficient and convenient in-store experience is now essential for customer retention. 

Where once retail assistants created unnecessary friction by manually collecting personal information at point of purchase, switching to smart receipts puts an end to this laborious task. With smart receipts, retailers can access customer insights, inclusive of buying patterns like frequency and demographics to help inform their targeted marketing strategies. 

Smart receipts arm retailers with the data necessary to enhance customer shopping journeys, increase the sale of more products and promote their brand. They also contain links to product information, loyalty programs, and return or warranty reminders, helping retailers connect with shoppers post-purchase turning the end of a transaction into the start of a customer relationship. 

Smart receipts are also a powerful tool to improve omnichannel marketing initiatives. By integrating with their POS systems, and utilising the data gathered via smart receipts, retailers are in a better position to understand their customers buying behaviours ensuring that their communications are useful to customers rather than an annoyance. After all, you’re unlikely to win favour with an Apple loyalist by bombarding them with the latest offer from Samsung. Instead, sharing discounts or loyalty offers on compatible accessories based on the data you aggregate will resonate with the customer, build purchase satisfaction and encourage their loyalty. 

Your customers’ receipts are going to end up in landfill

Think about how many times you yourself have accepted a receipt at the checkout only to tuck it in your back pocket, add it to an existing receipt pile on the kitchen bench, or discard it straight into a bin.

Well, you might think twice about saying yes next time now you know that only 7% of all receipts printed in Australia are recyclable. The vast majority of shopping receipts are printed on thermal paper rather than the kind that goes in your normal printer. This type of paper is coated with Bisphenol A (BPA) or Bisphenol S (BPS), chemicals that render the paper entirely unrecyclable. Although well-meaning people will put their receipts straight into a recycling bin, most will end up in landfill due to the nature of their toxic coating. 

Despite this, Australian shoppers are conscious about how their habits impact the planet, with 57% of consumers stating they would change their shopping habits to reduce environmental impact. This demonstrates to retailers that their customer base is willing to make the change. If organisations take the lead by ditching paper receipts to reduce their carbon footprint, so too will your customers, of which 67% would be more inclined to purchase through a retailer who provides digital receipts. 

No more complicated processes to verify returns

One recurring conundrum in retail is figuring out how to fortify your return process against fraudulent returns. Given the transient nature of the paper receipt, retailers have increasingly begun to verify purchases using an online bank statement. However, one Kmart customer recently fell foul to this process when she attempted to return recently purchased items, only to discover that someone had picked up her discarded receipt from a trolley, collected the exact items listed on the docket, and returned the items for a refund at the Kmart service desk, claiming them as her own.

In this situation it may be difficult to verify who’s who in the zoo. Transitioning from paper to smart receipts offers protection from instances of these scams. Smart receipts place legitimate proof of purchase in the palm of customers hands, providing access to return barcodes and warranty information when they most need it. 

Reflecting on what has been a tumultuous 18-months for retailers, harnessing data is more important than ever for customer retention and future growth. It is the often-overlooked practices, such as adopting smart digital processes, that can enhance customer shopping journeys, reduce the environmental impact of the business, and protect you from fraudulent activity. 

Paul Weingarth is CEO and co-founder of Slyp.