Is your trade counter digital or traditional?

7 April 2020
The BMF’s new service partner, Paymentsense, explains the pros and cons of digital receipts.

PaymentsenseA growing number of bricks and mortar retail stores are using email receipts, more commonly known as e-receipts, as an alternative to paper receipts. But what are the benefits, and would they translate to trade counter sales?

An e-receipt is a digital receipt that is sent to the customer electronically via an email address, instead of – or sometimes as well as – offering them a traditional paper copy.

They have a number of advantages:

- Firstly, they are environmentally friendly. Less paper is better when it comes to practicing sustainability and receipt paper is one of the easiest things to cut out of day to day operations. 

- They are also cost efficient.  Although it is best practice to keep till rolls to offer customers a hard copy receipt should they wish, as the building trade becomes digital-first, you will need a lot fewer per month.

- And they’re convenient. Most builders have a smartphone and can access emails on the move.  Instead of worrying about their clogging wallets or pockets with till receipts, proof of purchase is safely stored and easily accessed for their records, or should they need a refund. All of which makes life easier for your customers as well as your staff – a win-win.

If you follow the rules, e-receipts are also the perfect marketing opportunity.

Email marketing is probably the cheapest and quickest way to keep customers engaged with your brand, and a crucial channel for retaining loyal customers. When taking an email address for their receipt, you have the option to ask for their consent to opt into e-marketing. Be sure to ask them what type of offers they would like to receive so you can send tailored promotions and updates based on previous purchases.  One of the key stats of e-marketing is that personalised emails have six times higher transaction rates.

While the benefits of digital receipts outweigh the cons, there are things to be aware of to protect your business and your customers before you go paperless.

The General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) governs how businesses manage, store and handle their customers’ personal data – this can be anything from their email address to their name, gender or age.  Companies that fail to comply with GDPR can be prosecuted with hefty fines.  

As mentioned above, when asking a customer for their email to send their receipt, you must make sure to tell them they will not receive any marketing emails unless they opt in for them. If they do opt in, don’t bombard them with emails.  Only send information that is of real value, and timely. You must also allow customers to unsubscribe from your email list with the click of a button. Using platforms such as Mailchimp makes this simple.

Cyber security is another important consideration.  Examples of data breaches, including stolen passwords and/or bank details, across major organisations have made customers rightly concerned about what companies are doing to protect their private information.  Make sure you are storing emails in a safe system and keep on top of updates, credentials and user-permissions.

Security aside, there are some more practical drawbacks of implementing e-receipts at the trade counter. If the queue is out the door and customers are waiting to be served, you don’t want to increase their waiting time by asking for and manually keying in email addresses on your EPoS. One way of remedying this, which the clothing company Uniqlo has mastered, is to have tablets on the end of tils to allow customers to input their email address while the counter staff process their transaction. 

Overall digital receipts are a great way to improve your business’ sustainability, that also gives you the opportunity to remarket target customers with relevant and meaningful content. Many of today’s tradesmen are definitely “digital-savvy” but always be prepared to give hard copy receipts to more traditional customers.

Paymentsense help small businesses take cards at ease, without worrying about high transaction fees, payment settlements or integration. They even connect seamlessly with your EPoS, so you’ll never make a keying-in mistake again! 

For more information on how this can benefit your business get in touch on 020 3985 0185 or visit

For more information about all our BMF Plus Services click here

This article first appeared in the March 2020 edition of Builders Merchants’ Journal (BMJ).