We're all familiar with companies and banks switching to more efficient systems as technology has made it easier to keep track of spending and receipts. More companies and consumers are seeing the benefits of switching to a paperless system. It's been relatively slow to happen and the majority of people still get their receipts and bills the old fashioned way: by hand or through the mail. It seems that some companies are proactively doing this, but not as a way to stay green. It seems that marketers are finding a new avenue to promote their products through online receipt emails and messages.
Companies have been using paperless purchase tracking and receipt distribution for several years now. Apple has been giving customers the option to receive e-recipts instead of having to stuff their wallets and purses full of old crumpled up paper. Retailers are now finding this solution and Gap Inc., is taking a bit of a different approach.
Gap is launching their new e-receipts program that will be available in 2,600 stores across the country. Gap Inc.'s vice president of customer relations management stated in an interview, “We saw a number of people come in with wallets stuffed with old receipts, and returns can sometimes be a hassle for someone who's time starved. So we just thought, 'Let's think of a way to make this more convenient and streamlined for the customer and also go a little bit green.” What's not being discussed in this new move is the additional leverage it will give Gap Inc. over the competition.
Saving paper is all well and good, but it's not the only reason for this decision. The new e-receipts program has the additional purpose of increasing the brand's market penetration. When someone goes to the check out counter, they're asked if they want to receive a e-receipts. If so, they give their email address and they get the information via email. It's not only giving customers a hassle free and paperless experience, but it's also giving companies the ability to send relevant advertising directly to the consumer. This has proven another way for retailers to track shopping behavior and habits, which is a highly prized ability today.
The market is flooded with products, and companies are constantly trying to figure out how best to reach consumers. Businesses commit large portions of their budget towards using Online survey software, customer outreach, and other marketing programs as a way to figure out what the consumer wants. The e-receipt program will go one step further in helping retailers answer that very question.
Gap explained that the reasoning is that this new program will give companies the ability to connect with their customers, allowing them to participate in social networks, read updates and news, and review products and services. Customers, when they give their email address, are automatically enrolled in the program. If consumers aren't happy with the service, they can always opt out later. The program is likely to do quite well, but for those who aren't interested in these programs, standard options will still be available, at least for now.
This program will likely gain a lot of traction as it will help companies know what's working, what to change, and what to push for the coming year as more companies are struggling to get into the wallets of the average thrifty American.