Consumers who say “no thanks” to online shopping and decide to visit retailers in person may be in for a surprise this holiday season. Last week at the register of a national retailer, I presented my credit card to the sales associate who asked me something I didn’t expect; “Would you like your receipt printed or emailed to you?”
Like most consumers, I am accustomed to the standard request for my phone number or zip code at the checkout counter – or an offer to sign up instantly for a credit card – but this was the first time I was given the choice to receive my receipt through my inbox. Without thinking, I said no to the email version. Looking back, I now wonder if I made the right decision.
According to a recent USA Today article, retailers would rather you say “yes” to paperless receipts because your email address is a golden piece of information that can lead to future spending. Sure, electronic receipts make sense for businesses, but what do consumers gain by opting for a digital receipt? Proponents of electronic receipts might argue:
- It’s an environmentally friendly option that you don’t have to worry about losing
- You already receive electronic receipts every time you shop online, so what’s the big deal about receiving them when you shop at a brick and mortar retailer
- As more retailers and banks offer digital receipts, it may help you stay organized during tax season
- If you frequent the retailer anyway, it doesn’t hurt to receive alerts on their upcoming sales and coupons
If you do say “yes” to a digital receipt this holiday season, consider creating a second email account to manage your receipts, purchases, and any related marketing emails that are sure to follow. You may also want to check your email through your smartphone before leaving the store to confirm your receipt is in your inbox. After hours of holiday shopping, there would be nothing worse than wanting to return an item and having neither a printed nor electronic receipt.
As you shop this holiday season, how will you answer the question, “would you like your receipt printed or emailed?”