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The 11 eReceipt Best Practices You Need to Know

eReceipts are taking their place as the best method to distribute receipts and as a powerful retail marketing tool. They already have between a 30-50% adoption rate with customers. Of course, that doesn’t happen instantaneously. You need to be sure that you’re optimizing your program and utilizing best practices so that every aspect of your digital receipts program is as perfect as it can be.

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1. Train your associates on how to use/distribute eReceipts.

Your associates are the most important part of your electronic receipt program because they are, ultimately, the distributors of the program. It is they who must get your customer to use your eReceipts, after all. It is crucial that you provide training on how to properly bring digital receipts up to a customer (and then continue to retrain over time). Here are the main points you want to teach your associates:

  • They need to ask every customer for their email.
  • Do not offer an emailed receipt as an option – offer it (at least initially) as the only way.
  • If you need a verbal opt-in to a newsletter, be sure your associates ask for confirmation. (Although you may wish to offer opt-in in a follow-up email to save time.)

Essentially, you want to train you associates to simply ask at the end of an interaction: “What’s a good email for your receipt today?” rather than, “How would you like your receipt? Printed or emailed?”

In addition to training, you may want to offer an incentive, especially in the beginning, to encourage your associates to ask for emails. Consider offering a small gift card to whichever associate has the highest adoption rate. Do watch the bounce rate of your emails if you do this. You want to be sure none of your associates are gaming the system by entering false email addresses and thereby ruining your deliverability.

2. Include dynamic, targeted marketing content and CTAs in your receipts.

Transactional emails have the highest open rates in the email marketing world. Digital receipts, in particular, can see up to an 80% open rate, making these emails valuable property for you. Couple that with the fact that eReceipts are actually immune under most spam laws in the world, and you have an email that you can’t afford to waste.

In order to take advantage of an email that will almost definitely be seen, you’ll want to include dynamic, targeted content and CTAs in your digital receipts. Be sure to follow the 70-30 rule (70% transactional content, 30% marketing content) to avoid spam filters. You can run many different types of CTAs, depending on the information you have about a customer. One good idea is to include a CTA to join your loyalty program to customers who haven’t yet joined. You can dynamically switch that CTA once they’ve joined to tell them how much more they have to spend to get their loyalty rewards.

3. Use a mobile-first, branded and modern HMTL template.

It will never cease to surprise when I receive a plain-text, unbranded eReceipt that was likely generated by the company’s eCommerce solution and sent out without a further thought. These emails are ugly, and worse, they look unprofessional – even spammy. It makes me question my trust in a small company; it makes me question how much a larger brand values my experience; and it makes me wonder how on earth no one at that company has figured out that implementing something prettier isn’t that hard.

Rather than sending out an auto-generated email that an engineer at your eCommerce or POS provider thought was “good enough,” you should be sending out a branded, modern HTML template that is optimized for mobile. In 2017, this is a no-brainer. Not only does it allow you to include dynamic marketing content, but it also shows your clients that you are professional, and care about even the minutest parts of their experience.

Furthermore, you don’t need to hire a designer to code a great digital receipt template. These days, there are solutions for that. Not to toot our own horn, but we at flexReceipts, for instance, make it easy to drag-and-drop together a gorgeous dynamic eReceipt template.

4. Keep subject lines short and to the point.

This best practice speaks for itself. There’s no reason that your usual email marketing best practices shouldn’t apply to your digital receipts. Make sure to work with shorter subject lines, especially because eReceipts are very likely to be viewed on mobile. And test out different subject lines to ensure you’re really maxing out your open rates. You may find that “Your Receipt from [Store Name]” vastly out performs “Your Receipt,” for instance.

5. Don’t forget to thank your customer.

You have more real estate in a digital receipt than on a paper one. Use some of that real estate to thank your customer. You don’t have to write a long, heartfelt thank you (although if it fits your brand, you could always test that out), but a small “Thanks for shopping with us!” somewhere on the receipt is a good idea.

You could also send a thank-you in a follow-up email for engagement down the road. A few days after purchase you could send a longer thank you, along with tips on how to best use the items they purchased.

6. Make it home-printer friendly, in case your customer eventually needs to print it.

Yes, eReceipts are amazing. Everything should only be digital these days. But people need to print things out sometimes. Whether it’s to turn in a receipt for work or to give to the IRS for an audit (ouch), printed receipts do still have a place in the world, if only for a little while longer. Make sure that your receipt template is home-printer friendly – or ensure that a PDF version is attached to every receipt.

Train your associates in mentioning the printability factor to your customers who are interested in a printed copy. They want to mention it up front: “Can I have your email to send your eReceipt to? It can be printed later should you need a hard copy at some point.” Or you may want to train them to use it as a response when a customer hesitates to state their email: “Don’t worry, it can be printed later if you need a hard copy at some point.”

7. Add social sharing buttons so that customers can share their new purchases with friends easily.

When people buy things, they tend to like to tell someone else they bought it – even if it’s just a heads-up to their partner that they picked up the groceries.

Make it easy for your customers to share their new items by including social sharing buttons throughout your receipts. Social sharing buttons also allows you to auto-include your handles in customer’s posts so that any of their friends can quickly go and check your products out and follow you. (Social engagement boost!)

8. Set up receipts properly to track the performance of all marketing content and links.

A good marketer knows that their efforts are basically useless if they aren’t tracking the success of their efforts so they can be optimized. Make sure that you have tracking on all your links in your receipts, and be sure to report on the success of your receipts periodically so that you can test out new initiatives in them. flexReceipts users will also be able to set-up in-depth reporting dashboards to tell you exactly how your electronic receipts are doing.

9. Send receipts immediately following the transaction.

This is a no-brainer: send your receipt right after your customer completes the transaction. This increases customer confidence in your brand and it’s just a better experience. Customers are used to receiving receipts instantly. Many customers will eyeball the receipt right at the desk so they can be sure that what they paid for is correct. You don’t want to interrupt that.

10. Use a customer lookup during the transaction based on loyalty or partial credit card to speed up checkout times.

If you’re worried that asking for an email at checkout every time may get tedious or add to the time it takes to ring a customer, there are ways around that. Include a customer’s email as a part of their whole account and you’ll be able to look them up through other methods. If you have a loyalty app that includes a QR or barcode, you can scan their phone to pull their account up. You may also be able to pull up the account using a name or phone number. Once the account’s up, rather than having to have a customer spell out their email (and potentially missing a character), your sales associates can simply say, “I’ll go ahead and email your receipt to you. Is there anything else I can help you with?”

11. If your bounce rate is too high, implement email validation.

While not ideal, you may need to implement email validation if your bounce rate is getting high. There are a number of services that can check the validity of an email address in real time so that you can ask for a correct address or, minimally, make sure you don’t mail the invalid address.

Wrap-up

There are a lot of best practices on this list, but if I have to boil it down to just two things to take away it’s these:

  • Train your employees on how to correctly sign customers up for digital receipts.
  • Follow email marketing best practices with your eReceipts.

If you can just remember those two things, you’ll be on the right track.