Welcome to The CITE -- a blog on Course materials, Innovation, and Technology in Education, created by Mark Nelson and now part of the Publications Department of the National Association of College Stores. CITE is a pun with multiple meanings - referring to cite as in citation, something people reference; site as in location, website, or place people go to; and sight as in foresight or looking ahead to what is coming. Comments, discussion, feedback and ideas are welcome.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Digital Receipts: The Good and The Bad

Here’s a story that says more retailers are looking to provide digital receipts but some customers are a little weary of personal data.  Retailers already sending email receipts include companies like Gap, Kmart, Best Buy, Sears, and Apple.  Receipts can be received via email and can customers can access receipts on the Web or on their mobile phones, according to the article. 

Some of the benefits of digital receipts include the convenience for customers, who require receipts for such things as product warranties and tax records.  It also supports in helping to reduce fraudulent returns."It definitely will help cut down on fraud," said Joe Masar, marketing director for D&B Supply, an Idaho-based, farm-and-ranch store that is currently exploring digital receipt solutions. "You never want to treat your customer like a criminal, so we tend to trust them. Sometimes we're over-trusting." However, with a digital receipt, Masar said, "then there's no question."

The negative to emailed receipts is that it makes customers nervous about personal data being available to retailers.  Some people consider their spending habits to be personal and they feel personalized marketing to be invasive.

According to the article, Kmart spokesman Aiello recognizes that the corporation is incorporating this information for added personalized marketing such as offering coupons and promotions based on spending habits, but he sees it as benefit to consumers.

"This really starts to open up opportunities that a paper receipt just can't," he said. "If the customer has shown interest in certain things, [he or she will receive] recommendations as part of the digital receipt.”

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