A growing number of retail stores are offering a digital version of the traditional paper receipt. By providing an email address, customers can opt to have their store receipts sent to their inbox. Whole Foods is one store offering the eco-friendly option. Spokeswoman Liz Burkhart tells the Boston Herald “it’s all about finding ways to be more environmentally friendly and making it more convenient for shoppers.” Avis, Marriot Hotels and Kmart offer the choice of a digital receipt. Clothing stores Gap, Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie and Nordstrom also have paperless receipt options.
For shoppers with smart phones, digital receipts are especially handy when it comes to returns. All you have to do is call up the emailed receipt and have the bar code scanned. Retail experts say digital receipts are the next big thing in retail. Richard Mader of the Association for Retail Technology Standards, predicts in five years, up to 60 percent of retailers will go paperless. Mader says email receipts will grow as retailers begin installing cell phone payment systems. There is some concern about the move toward digital receipts. Some say it’s another way for companies to access personal email accounts.
The transition to digital receipts is providing new business for other companies. Transaction Tree is a green company that educates retailers about replacing ink and paper receipts with a digital option. The firm helps build digital receipt programs for retailers and grocery stores as well as managing the emailing and storage of the receipts.