Email receipts were once only utilized by ecommerce stores to send online shoppers a record of the transaction and way to track their package. What was originally just a necessity for ecommerce merchants has now spread to offline sales channels as well. Recently there’s been a movement for both online and brick-and-mortar retailers to send email receipts to their customers.
While digital receipts are undeniably better for the environment (helping retailers go paperless and saving some trees in the process), they also make it easier for customers to keep track of their purchases. Who hasn’t lost an important paper receipt before?
However, digital receipts can help retail businesses with more than saving on paper costs and helping customers track their transactions — they also offer a number of benefits and opportunities to retail merchants. And it’s easier than ever to send email receipts with simple-to-use tools like Shopify POS.
When sending a digital receipt, retailers collect their customer's email address, which is a valuable piece of customer info that — with the right permissions — can be used for future retargeting and email marketing campaigns.
Aside from the potential to communicate with your audience in the future via email, the email receipts themselves can be an opportunity to speak with your customer about more than just their recent purchase. You can turn that simple proof of transaction into another communication and engagement channel.
Not sure how to accomplish that? We’ve gathered six ways that your retail business can leverage digital receipts.
1. Include Coupons and Promotions to Entice More Sales
So, you’ve made a sale and you’re sending a confirmation to your customer by way of an email receipt. While this is ending one sales cycle, it’s also an opportunity to begin a new one. By including coupons in the email, you may entice the reader into looking again at your inventory or drive them to complete a sale on an item that they looked at but saved for later.
While this tactic isn’t new, it’s effective. According to Forbes: “A recent study showed that 70% of people make use of coupons or discounts they learn about from email.”
To add an extra sense of urgency, make your coupons time sensitive.
This is an example of a follow-up coupon included in an email receipt from an Etsy retailer:
Tools like Unific make it easy to create these digital coupons and customize them with options like “expirations, products/collections, minimum order amount, free shipping, and more.”
2. Notify Customers about Upcoming Events or Promotions
Take advantage of the unique chance that email receipts present to communicate with your audience. In the article “6 Key Insights from 100K Email Receipts Sent,” Conversio found that email receipts have an open rate four times higher than regular email, with almost 71% of them being opened.
With this kind of email engagement, take the time to let customers know about upcoming sales, promotions, events, or other news that you have on the horizon — think of it as highly effective, free advertising to your core audience.
One example is this email receipt from Home Depot. The home hardware retailer takes the time to thank customers for their recent purchase, and use the rest of that valuable receipt real estate to make customers aware of other promotions. In this case, the store let the customer know about their price-matching discount of 10%.
3. Let Recipients Know About Your Programs
Does your retail business have a loyalty program or referral program that you want your customers to know about? Increase your chances of turning first-time buyers into returning customers with some info about your programs on your email receipts.
If you don’t have a loyalty program currently, consider creating one — it’s a great way to collect data about your customers, track their spending, and creating one can be easier than you think. Additionally, a referral program is a great way to reach potential new shoppers and keep your loyal consumers regularly engaged with the brand.
Here is an example of a coupon from The Honest Company that reminds customers of their referral program:
This example from an email receipt from The Honest Company encourages those you already trust the brand enough to have made a purchase to recommend the company to their friends and family — something they may have done without any incentive. But the purpose of this coupon and their referral program is to drive those recommendations through a program that The Honest Company can track and analyze.
4. Increase Brand Engagement
The completion of a purchase can be viewed as the end goal, but it can also be the beginning of a relationship between your brand and your customer. Take advantage of email receipts to promote different aspects of your retail brand. Include images of your products and/or brick-and-mortar stores to make the emails more aesthetically pleasing and remind the reader of your brand identity. Add customer testimonials to further the trust that you’re building with this customer.
Free People offers product suggestions at the bottom of their email receipts that look like this:
Email receipts are also a great occasion to suggest similar products based on the buyer’s previous purchase. Showcasing your diverse product offering and how many options you carry that match their interests via email is a great upselling opportunity.
You can include these brand elements in your emails easily with tools like Spently, which allows you to customize emails and organize the layout to match your retail branding.
5. Let Customers Know How to Reach You
There are a few reasons why a customer may be looking to contact your business after they’ve made a purchase — to ask a question, leave a review, inquire about a return, or maybe they just want to stay in touch with your brand through social channels for future purchases.
Because of this, you’ll want to include any applicable ways to reach you in your email receipts. In the article How To Revamp Your Email Receipts To Boost Conversions, Forbes states: “Customers often look back to email receipts to find contact information if they need to reach you. Make it easy for them and ... give customers different ways to reach you.”
Including contact info in the footer of your email receipts, similar to this example from Structube.
Contact information to include could be your company’s phone number, a link to your chat or inquiry form, the address for a local brick-and-mortar store, links to your social channels, and even your preferred hashtag for customers to share images of their new purchases.
6. Ask for Feedback
Lastly, use this opportunity as a way to ask a pressing question to your target audience. Did they find your checkout experience easy to navigate? Were they happy with the selection of products that you offered? Include a short questionnaire in your email receipt to get answers to your questions through an online survey provider like SurveyMonkey.
To incentivize customers to take your survey, offer them a discount code or the opportunity to get free merchandise or gift cards, like in this survey request from Nike:
Also, if you’re sending email receipts after in-store purchases, it can be a great time to ask customers to leave a review of the product and direct them to the product review page. Customers tend to leave a review if they’re avid reviewers, are extremely happy with the product, or have an issue with the product. But by prompting them just after a purchase, you may be able to capture their initial reaction before they forget to leave a review.
Moving Forward With Email Receipts
Hopefully, these suggestions have you thinking about ways to utilize your email receipts to promote your business and better your customers’ experience.
Have you used email receipts in a different way that’s benefited your retail business? We’d love to hear about it in the comments.