Grocery Retail Checkout Trends to Watch: Digital Receipts and No-Receipt Options

“Debit or credit?”

“Paper or plastic?”

These questions have long been staples of the grocery cashier’s script. But that script is being flipped, as one new line in particular is rehearsed in checkout lines everywhere: “How would you like your receipt?”

Advances in technology and evolving attitudes towards consumer choice are altering the grocery shopping experience. Beyond convenience, shoppers want more control over the rules of engagement. That includes choosing a paperless receipt or no-receipt option.

Read on to learn how the receipts options your store offers can impact customer satisfaction—and why you should consider updating your POS system to offer digital proofs of purchase.

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Are receipts still necessary?

Yes and no. The reasons for issuing a proof of purchase remain as valid as ever, but the receipt itself need no longer take a traditional form.

For years, stores have printed receipts as much (or more) for the benefit of back-office staff as for customers. While shoppers saved their paper receipts because stores would not accept returns without one, bookkeeping systems required paper documents to support recorded expenses. Moreover, receipts were vital for income tax purposes.

Little slips of paper with fading ink figures are mostly redundant in a digital era defined by mobile commerce and omnichannel customer experiences. True, many consumers still prefer a hard copy for their own records, and others want a proof of purchase they can hold in their hands, particularly when it comes to big-ticket, warrantied items.

Retailers recognize they still need to accommodate these shoppers’ preference for paper. However, automatically printing a paper receipt at checkout for every customer isn’t the most efficient way to meet the needs of the few who want them. In the grocery industry, the majority of purchases are quickly consumed, so shoppers rarely need to return items. And for most purchases, bank and credit card statements serve as sufficient documentation.

Are your receipt options up to your brand’s standards?

Receipts may indeed be financial records, but they are also marketing collateral for merchants. They often feature your logo and contain messaging—from a simple “Thank you, please come again” to coupons—designed to cultivate customer loyalty and drive sales. As such, digital receipts present grocery stores with new ways to communicate with their clientele.

Here’s a case in point. A digital receipt option is particularly important for stores that brand themselves as organic, green, and socially responsible. But how can you convince shoppers of your store’s mission when your cash registers spew miles of BPA-coated thermal paper? Health-conscious consumers are aware of the issues surrounding BPA and, while less toxic materials are available for printing receipts, offering digital receipts is one direct and effective way to show a commitment to your community.

Most importantly, digital receipts can open a path to providing more personalized customer service. Shoppers are bombarded with marketing messages addressed to a general audience. To cope with that information overload, many consumers have even developed blindness towards advertising that isn’t relevant to their individual lives, wants, or needs.

Personalized digital receipts can change that. Your POS saves data about each customer’s market basket along with their contact information. Applying basket analytics to that data makes it possible to present your customers with timely, value-added, and personalized offers right on their receipt, which means your marketing dollars are better spent.

How itemized is your decision-making?

Outdated POS systems, management software, and inventory programs create disparate information silos. Collocating and normalizing this data is key to streamlining operations and empowering grocers with more intelligent decision-making.

When equipped with enterprise-level integrations, your POS system becomes a data hub: an always-on, centralized repository containing sales information spanning every register in every store. Sales data stored herein, including digital receipts, are thus accessible chainwide. This functionality, combined with smart inventory management, can enable more frictionless customer service. For example, it might allow grocers to establish policies to allow a customer who purchased items in one store to return them at any location.

It can be tempting to view your receipts as just another cost of doing business, especially if you still have to budget for print hardware and consumables such as (paper, and ink, etc.). However, to do so would be to incur a potentially significant opportunity cost. Digital receipts produce the granular, transaction-level data needed to customize your reporting products. Leveraging this often invisible and untapped data leads to actionable insights. And actionable insights lead to optimized inventory management, more accurate sales forecasts, and targeted promotions that actually convert.

TRUNO can evaluate your current POS solution and recommend the most cost-effective ways to improve your grocery store’s customer experience. 

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