NRF: Can retailers boost transactions with personalized receipts?

Discussion
Photo: @sijiaw via Twenty20
Jan 15, 2019

As retailers continue to experiment with new ways to personalize the e-commerce experience, there is a less obvious touchpoint that they might be overlooking — the receipt. In a session at the 2019 NRF show in New York, Jennifer Biefel, director of customer marketing at GNC, explained how the chain has been pushing conversions with post-purchase communications.

GNC has taken steps to enhance the post-purchase experience, such as:

  • Using images of products on the digital receipt to pique the customer’s interest and recognition;
  • Featuring top sellers and items a customer might like on the digital receipt based on customer and purchase data;
  • Using data to determine which customers are most likely to join the retailer’s loyalty program, and targeting them with offers to join;
  • Offering the option to sign up for auto-replenishment of products the customer has purchased next to the images of those products on the digital receipt.

These strategies have shown quantifiable success, according to Ms. Biefel. Seven percent of the sales attributed to each receipt came from the featured cross-sell/upsell products. More than 10 percent of people who purchased an item promoted on the receipt signed up for auto-replenishment, and the advertisement for the loyalty program showed a tenfold lift in signups compared to a control group.

GNC has also begun personalizing the packing slips in the boxes of its deliveries and has found that personalized offers have driven e-commerce customers into stores to discuss the items with store staff and to make purchases. The chain intends to continue bringing in new and more sophisticated customer data to better target upsells on receipts and is even adding the same sort of individual customer data to the printed in-store receipts as it has on the digital receipts.

Tomas Diaz, CEO of FlexEngage, who also presented at the session, pointed out the unique benefits of post-purchase communications.

“In this day and age of relevancy or personalization, to give somebody a very static communication is just criminal,” said Mr. Diaz. “It’s a very wasted opportunity.”

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Should more retailers treat post-purchase communications such as digital receipts as a channel to enhance engagement with customers? Is this type of communication of value to only certain types of retailers such as GNC or does it have wider applications?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"Once a customer signs up for the loyalty program and data from profile/habits begin to compile, the upside become exponential."
"I have seen other retailers doing similar marketing techniques after an online purchase, and there is no doubt it works."
"The obvious caveat to this approach is to ensure relevant post-purchase communications. Period."

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10 Comments on "NRF: Can retailers boost transactions with personalized receipts?"


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Mark Ryski
BrainTrust

Post-purchase communications can be an effective way to enhance customer engagement and encourage additional purchases. This is far from a new or radical concept, but it goes to show that solid execution of a practical idea can be measurably effective. The real trick of this type of communication is to make it relevant. Cross-selling or proving promotional offers on product that is irrelevant can have the opposite effect and cause customers to simply ignore these communications.

Bob Amster
BrainTrust

Each post-sale nuance has an incremental value and none has it all. Some consumers don’t even look at receipts, others look at them for perquisites and special offers. In the aggregate, post-purchase communications can enhance customer engagement on the customer’s level and work to improve customer retention/loyalty.

Art Suriano
Guest

I have seen other retailers doing similar marketing techniques after an online purchase, and there is no doubt it works. Treating post-purchase communications such as digital receipts as a channel to enhance engagement with customers is wise, and it reminds customers of other items they may wish to purchase. It’s more effective than a generic ad or an email offer.

Through technology today, e-commerce retailers can easily make an excellent purchase recommendation from the purchase just made and I think customers value that. I would expect more of this type of marketing to continue and for it to expand.

Doug Garnett
BrainTrust

Retailers need to take care and look at the potential downside of using emailed receipts for marketing communication.

While a focus on conversion rates might show this to be an effective method for driving short term sales, direct marketing experience shows that consumers do not want most of the offers they receive.

In fact, from DM we know that while we might get 1 in 100 to buy, it’s quite easy to offend a significant portion of the other 99 by the aggressiveness of our offers or by their constant presence.

We must not let a dash for short-term revenues destroy the long term brand.

Ryan Mathews
BrainTrust

It can be a powerful tool. At the height of the “Celtic Tiger” economic revolution, the receipts at Ireland’s Superquinn stores used to break down purchases by country of origin (Irish vs, all others). The idea was to reinforce shopper’s pride by reminding them of their ongoing role in what then looked like the dawn of a new era of national prosperity. It also reminded shoppers how much they had saved by participating in the loyalty program. In short, they used the post-purchase communication to make customers feel good about themselves, rather than to directly sell.

I suppose a similar approach could be used by anyone — say breaking out the total of organic products purchased in a supermarket or the percentage of materials sourced in free trade zones for fashion. The bottom line though is that whatever the communication is ought to be carefully matched against the target shopper, not just another form of generic couponing.

Evan Snively
BrainTrust
Evan Snively
Director of Planning & Loyalty, Moosylvania
3 years 5 months ago

There is certainly more upside with the digital receipt than the physical, but both have room for improvement.
I do think that there is a sweet spot for the type of purchase that a receipt communication would be effective, and it’s probably when the customer is purchasing 5 items or less. This way the triggered message can be hyper-relevant to the immediate purchase instead of related to only one line in a Sunday grocery run list of all things. Once a customer signs up for the loyalty program and data from profile/habits begin to compile, the upside become exponential.

Ralph Jacobson
Guest

The obvious caveat to this approach is to ensure relevant post-purchase communications. Period.

Adrian Weidmann
BrainTrust

The shopping journey is far too often viewed by retailers and brands to be over when a purchase is made. Post-purchase communication is imperative and an absolute must in today’s digital landscape. Relevancy is critical. Simply presenting marketing and sales messages on every available surface is a waste of time, money, and your customer’s respect. In the case of GNC, promoting and securing auto-replenish agreements makes great sense.

Craig Sundstrom
Guest

Gonna be a buzzkill here: the question I get asked most frequently (after buying something) is “do you want your receipt?” and while I always say “yes,” the fact must be that many say “no” (or the store wishes they would). Translation: paper receipts are on their way out. So what about digital? Oh yeah, one of 833 emails you receive daily that you’ll study closely.

Sachin Sinha
Guest
3 years 5 months ago

Digital eReceipts should be looked at more than just as a way to cross-sell and up sell. Over the years the way people buy and pay for things has changed, but a majority of receipts are still generated as paper receipts.

Retailers should also look at the environmental (forgoing 55,000 receipts can spare an entire tree) and health (thermal paper receipts contain BPA residue) benefits of digital receipts. Besides, paper receipts don’t add any value for retailers or consumers and with its limited shelf-life, there is hardly any scope for engagement on paper receipts. The engagement on digital receipts will be any day better than paper receipts. Agree that sending promotional offers without any relevance will not create much impact, be it either paper or digital e-receipts.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"Once a customer signs up for the loyalty program and data from profile/habits begin to compile, the upside become exponential."
"I have seen other retailers doing similar marketing techniques after an online purchase, and there is no doubt it works."
"The obvious caveat to this approach is to ensure relevant post-purchase communications. Period."

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