Stephanie Clifford of the New York Times recently wrote (Aug. 7) about the growing trend among major U.S. retailers to issue paperless receipts via e-mail.
"Major retailers, including Whole Foods Market, Nordstrom, Gap Inc. (which owns Old Navy and Banana Republic), Anthropologie, Patagonia, Sears and Kmart, have begun offering electronic versions of receipts, either e-mailed or uploaded to password-protected websites," she wrote. "And more and more customers, the retailers report, are opting for paperless."
E-mail receipts make sense for all parties. For the retailer, it reduces ink, paper and printer costs. For the consumer, it's less paper to throw out or worse, to have accumulating in your purse or wallet.
According to allEtronic, an estimated 9.6 million trees are cut each year for receipts in the U.S.
Clifford says Apple popularized electronic receipts, introducing them back in 2005. Now, as more and more retailers try to emulate Apple's modern in-store experience, the paperless receipt is spreading fast.
The move toward mainstream m-commerce, NFC and wallet-phone technology will only propel the paperless receipt even further.
"A lot of these retailers are looking into mobile payments, and with mobile payments, you have to talk about the digital receipt," said Birame N. Sock (who runs MyReceipts, an e-receipt company) in Clifford's article.
At Nordstrom, for example, sales staff are equipped with wireless devices to check customers out on the spot. The devices can print receipts, but the goal is to encourage shoppers to opt for the paperless version.