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Are Retailer Receipts Getting Too Long?

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Are Retailer Receipts Getting Too Long?
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LOGO_TARPONNow and then, it’s good to know you’re ahead of the game.

A few months ago, I had written about CVS ExtraCare and, along with an overview of their program, made note that I had measured one receipt in excess of 36″. If receipts were as much fun to catch as Tarpon and Bonefish, this one would have been a World Record.

Yesterday’s front page article in the Wall Street Journal, has brought the subject of the increasing size of retailer receipts front and center. Supporting this WSJ story is another take from MSNBC that you might want to read.

From my point of view, messaging on purchase receipts should be evaluated on the relevancy of the message. In CVS, there are a series of specific product offers as well as CVS ExtraCare Bucks offered to consumers. The “Bucks” are always welcome and drive bounce back to the store.

The accompanying product offers are relevant in theory, though as I noted previously, CVS has some distance to travel before it connects purchase behavior with offer. To date, I receive offers for products that I have not purchased previously and would never be on my list. In short, my hope is that CVS will do better with its data in the future.

In another example in the WSJ story, Home Depot was chided for devoting 4″ at the bottom of their receipts for survey invitation. The Home Depot spokesperson quoted said that 500,000 responses are received each month and that this medium drew much higher response rates than in-store customer comment cards used in the past.

If customers want their voices heard, I am not sure why they complain about being asked for their opinion. Yes, there is a paper-waste issue, but at least Home Depot cares enough to ask and is willing to put a $5,000 gift card on the line for participants each month.

There are two issues at work here: store operations and customer identification. I would encourage the operations people at all retailers to review the layout of their receipts and do their best to minimize the footprint. The customer identification issue is an old one that has plagued many retailers and can be addressed in large part by a customer loyalty program.

Whether you like points, miles or widgets, you should understand that by introducing any form of membership club with benefits allows the retailer to identify customers and lay the foundation for more personalized and relevant communications. If Home Depot knew who I was, they might not have to print their survey offer on my receipt, but could send me an invitation by email instead.

By using customer data in a positive and proactive manner, there is cost savings, environmental impact, and better customer experience at the register. In the longer run, there is the opportunity for delivery of relevant offers that will lead to higher share of wallet and incremental profitability.

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