What the #SkiptheSlip Bill Means for California Retailers and Consumers
Democratic Assemblyman Phil Ting of San Francisco, California is proposing a statewide bill that would make digital receipts mandatory for all merchants across the state. Assemblyman Ting’s concerns for the health of California consumers and the environment led him to propose the new law based on reports published by Green America and others that a majority of paper receipts can’t be recycled and are coated with chemicals known as Bisphenol-A (BPA) and Bisphenol-S (BPS). His bill, AB161, would require merchants to provide proof of purchase receipts electronically starting in 2022 unless the customer asks for a printed copy. On January 8, 2019, Assemblyman Ting held a press conference which sparked interest among the media and grabbed the attention of major retailers across the country. "Why force you to take the paper? Because most of us, what do we do with this paper when we get home? It goes into the waste bin," Ting said in the press conference.
What Digital Receipts Mean for Retailers
Over the past few years, retailers including Michael Kors, Under Armour, Oakley, GNC, and others have increasingly adopted digital receipts for a variety of reasons:
Reason #1: Cost Savings - Paper receipts cost, on average .015-.05 per receipt. This ads up to tens of thousands of dollars per year that retailers spend to create something that 9 out of 10 shoppers throw away.
Reason #2: Improved Loyalty and Bounceback - Personalized digital receipts improve the brand experience for customers as they integrate with in-store initiatives, rewards programs, e-commerce options, and provide access to complementary products. In fact, 15% of consumers click through the links on their digital receipts enabling retailers to improve post-sale engagement and bounce back.
Reason #3: Satisfying the Demands of Today's Mobile Shoppers - Depending on the retailer, up to 80% of shoppers are now requesting digital receipts at checkout. Digital receipts offer the convenience, content, and access preferred by a majority of today’s smartphone-oriented shoppers.
Reason #4: Improved Post-Sale Engagement with Shoppers - Digital receipts are highly customizable and can be leveraged to drive incremental loyalty program signups, product reviews, and shopper feedback. And unlike other forms of email marketing, the average digital receipt is viewed 3 to 5 times, with open rates around 70%.
California consumers will also benefit from a switch to digital receipts.
What Digital Receipts Mean for Consumers
Beyond avoiding paper receipt-related BPA and BPS, customers prefer digital receipts because, with an e-receipt, shoppers can easily recall a digital receipt the instant they need it. This helps to simplify returns, reorders, and the sharing of product details with friends and family. Email receipts also provide consumers with convenient access to personalized offers and relevant product recommendations that can make shopping more convenient.
The tide is rising in the United States to increase the adoption of digital receipts. Assemblyman Phil Ting is just one of many voices calling for merchants to reduce or eliminate paper receipts in part because digital receipts represent a win-win for businesses and consumers.
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