Sometimes the most important communications vehicles are right under our noses.
The paper receipt could be the latest example.
Jack Dorsey, founder and CEO of Square and co-founder of Twitter, recently told an audience at the National Retail Federation's annual expo that printed receipts are underused and could be a next-generation point of engagement with consumers.
"What if we see the receipt more as a publishing medium — a product unto itself that people actually want to take home, that they want to engage with, be fully interactive with?" Dorsey said. "What can we do with this everyday tool?" he said.
"What can we build into this canvas that's actually valuable, that's independent of the product you just sold? What can you give in this communication channel, this publishing medium, that people want to engage with?"
Via a receipt, a business can reach every single shopper with a message.
My company Mobivity has entered into a Letter of Intent to acquire SmartReceipt, Inc., a marketing solutions company whose software products transform traditional retail transaction receipts for Subway, Baskin-Robbins, Dairy Queen and others into engaging "smart" receipts that feature coupons and special offers for consumers.
Integrating SmartReceipt's point of sale data into Mobivity's SMS and Stampt offering will enable businesses to generate actionable data to craft specialized offers, coupons and messages based on actual individual purchasing histories. This is unique, monetizabe, and a win for both the consumer and for the business.
A SmartReceipt campaign with one of the largest quick service restaurants shows the power and the potential - the Los Angeles market included a call to action on the receipt in a text-to-win program and saw 17,000 participants. New York did not and got 1,900.
Dorsey and others are chasing the receipt opportunity, too.
In many ways, as an industry we’ve only scratched the surface in providing personalized offers and information to mobile users even if they have opted in. The receipt changes that, especially when marketers are offered a solution for extracting purchase information without the need to change or even touch the point of sale system.
Consumers can be incented to join loyalty clubs, then SMS databases can be segmented and more relevant offers can be sent.
As to whether shoppers will care, I’ll point you to a Maritz loyalty survey that says that the top choice of consumers is loyalty rewards based on preferences revealed from purchasing habits.
While few predicted it in 2014 trend forecasts, the receipt could have a major bearing on sales from the small and medium-sized business all the way to the largest retailer.
This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program http://Goo.gl/t3fgW, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. I’ve been compensated to contribute to this program, but the opinions expressed in this post are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies or opinions.