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Investigating E-receipts - The Opportunities for Brands


This article is written by Saravanan Subburam, member of the DMA Email Council and its Research Hub.

The DMA’s report ‘Customer Engagement: How to Win Trust & Loyalty’ published in 2020, revealed consumers’ preference (67%) for email as highly relevant channel to engage with brands.

Furthermore, the ‘Consumer Email Tracker 2020’ investigated the use of the email channel in a range of contexts with ‘e-receipts’ email being liked by most respondents (59%) and 40% viewing them as one of the main reasons to signing up to brands.

However, whilst e-receipts have shown to resonate with consumers’ interest, there is a misalignment in the views shared amongst most marketers. As found in the ‘Marketer Email Tracker 2020’, only 16% of marketers rated e-receipts to be effective in consumer sign-ups.

So, what are the missed opportunities for brands? We delved further into research to identify the benefits of e-receipts to foster both customer acquisition and loyalty.

E-receipts - Customer Acquisition

Having a soft opt-in’ means brands can collect customer email addresses in-store, whilst also offering convenience. E-receipts have become the most widely used tactic for brands to rebuild their databases post GDPR.

An external study from Yieldify found that 29% of businesses have already adopted such a tactic.

In this process, it’s key that businesses adhere to both PECR and GDPR practices - brands must have clear processes in place to ensure consumers are aware they can freely opt-out from receiving marketing emails.

For instance, organisations can adopt the method of incorporating a QR code on the physical receipt, offering the option to receive an e-receipt. Upon scanning, consumers can tick the opt-in box confirming they are happy to receive this. To maintain data quality, brands can implement Validity’s ‘BriteVerify’ solution to help gather correct data in real-time and increase engagement rates.

In case you are after a source of inspiration, Guy Hanson, Vice President of Customer Engagement at Validity, pulled together an exhaustive guide of best practices examples brands should follow.

Tim Bond, Head of Insight at the DMA, in an article dedicate to e-receipts, has identified two segments based on specific combinations of answers given to some of the questions asked within the DMA’s report Consumer Email Tracker 2020 report:

  • ‘Best served’ - 49% of respondents that selected ‘Email’ and ‘Receipts’ to the question ‘Which of these types of subject would you agree are best served by the following communication methods?’
  • ‘Like e-receipts’ - The 59% who said they liked email receipts (scoring it above 4 on a 7-point scale) when asked ‘How much do you like or dislike the following in emails you receive from brands?’

Upon further observation, data revealed that users consenting to receive e-receipts were most likely to be strong advocates of email in general. It also signals stronger trust with the brand and therefore greater openness towards loyalty-nurtured programs.

Both segments over-performed against other major attributes, preferring email significantly more compared to the average consumer. For instance, whilst the average respondents to ‘Discounts/offers’ were 52%, e-receipt cohorts were 1.25x significantly more likely to cite this (62%).

In general, consumers who consent to receive e-receipts are more likely to be engaged with an email programme they are signed up to. Therefore, brands can benefit from this advantage and automatically plug in the new subscribers into their highest-performing segment. From here, brands will be able to create an ad-hoc programme to target this new audience.

E-receipts - Customer Insight

Beyond just an email address, e-receipts offer the opportunity to bridge the gap between online and offline experiences. With many customers liking the digital format of their receipts and by creating the necessary processes in place, marketers can track purchase history with behavioural/demographic data to better understand their customers.

For instance, Yocuda, a provider of e-receipt solutions, offers relevant systems for brands to capture, analyse, manage, and engage with customer data across different stages.

Indeed, capturing data across different touchpoints, can support brands to bring together datasets to build a single customer view into one profile. This is naturally reflected in the report with ‘e-receipts’ being well received across all age groups.

The research mentioned earlier, also offers further insight showing how the ‘Best served’ segment prefer a myriad of channels with email leading the way.

Figures from the ‘Consumer Email Tracker 2020’, supports these findings whilst clicking on a link within an email is the most likely action (29%), almost 23% of consumers choose to engage with brands via other channels, creating equally good outcomes beyond ‘clicks’.

This extends brands with the opportunities to gain a more holistic view of their customers as part of a multi-channel marketing strategy.

E-receipts - Loyalty Benefits

Findings from the ‘How to win Trust and Loyalty 2020’ report ranked email as the leading channel scoring highly on both ‘Trust’ (58%) and ‘Relevance’ (67%).

The same report also found 80% of consumers expressed an interest in joining a loyalty scheme that would allow them to collect rewards.

However, it also shows consumers haven’t valued loyalty benefits the same as previously (66% v 78% in 2018). This presents untapped reward strategies to deliver greater personalisation.

  • Free gifts/treats
  • Location based-offers
  • Exclusive discounts/offers

Amidst a pandemic, much of the focus of ‘loyalty’ had shifted towards compassion driven drivers highlighting the need for brands to show empathy and support for consumers during challenging times.

The data points demonstrate these new segments are primed when it comes to customer loyalty where they can be further nurtured throughout the journey.

These new segments are natural candidates for brands’ loyalty programmes, and marketers can also leverage these key insights through building an email journey to harness this by automating key messaging/milestones that will resonate highly with these segments.

This naturally opens up opportunities for marketers to promote their loyalty program and convert customers into active ‘members’.

Overall, e-receipts have shown to be a highly effective method in acquiring customers, having identified key ‘segments’ this reflects strong behaviours/preferences that marketers can harness to develop new loyalty strategies. Whilst, email remains the leading channel throughout the customer journey, there are untapped benefits for brands (as highlighted) to deliver a more personalised email experience.

Curious to learn more on e-receipts? Have a look at these two other articles:

Investigating Email: E-reciepts

Investigating E-receipts - What's in It for Customers and Brands

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