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MediaPost: Digital And Mobile Transactions Are Dethroning The Paper Receipt

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Digital And Mobile Transactions Are Dethroning The Paper Receipt

Mobile transactions are revolutionizing the way consumers make payments. Of all American cellphone users, nearly half own smartphones and can assist in creating a greener environment. The ability to redeem a service or product by simply presenting a scannable receipt is not only making transactions seamless for the customer, but is also significantly improving environmental paper waste. With today’s technology and the increasing dependence that consumers have on their smartphones, paper receipts are inefficient. Not only does the production of paper receipts emit carbon monoxide equivalent to that of driving a car for a solid year, allEtronic, a digital paperless service system, states that a single ton of receipt paper produces “approximately 2,278 pounds of trash” per year. 
Starbucks adopts mobile payment strategy

Starbucks, a leader in adopting innovative and progressive technology, was one of the first corporations to attempt to reduce this waste by implementing a strategy linked to a mobile payment plan. By partnering with Square Wallet, a mobile payment app build to create integrated transactions, customers no longer need to bring their wallet on their midday coffee break. Square Wallet allows businesses to accept payment, eliminating the standard payment form of cash, debit and credit cards. Over 7,000 Starbucks locations in the U.S. have adopted this efficient method of payment to offer customers a seamless experience that removes the need for a traditional cash register. Once the QR Code is scanned from the customer’s smartphone, payment is deducted from the account. An electronic receipt is then offered at the end of the transaction. Voila! Ordering a coffee has never been easier, or greener!

Retailers encourage paperless receipts

Retailers are also adopting this solution. Anthropologie asks customers if they’d like to have their receipt emailed to them at the end of their transaction. Elana Handler, home department manager at one of the retailer’s Long Island locations, said that “when asked, 7 times out of 10, a customer prefers to have the electronic receipt.” Taking this proactive approach – as opposed to asking the customer if they need a receipt after printing and proceeding to throw it away when declined – is much more efficient in combatting paper waste. The added benefit for retailers is that they can gather valuable consumer data that can be used to deliver more personalized marketing strategies. Win-win.

An industry that has room for sustainable improvement

Surprisingly, there are still several industries that have not made the shift to paperless receipts and mobile payment systems. Public transportation systems are an ideal candidate to adopt electronic payment systems, since their customer base is so heavily dependent on them. However, some sectors have still not integrated this concept into their CRM systems. Having been a commuter for years, it shocks me that travelers still need to carry a physical ticket onto trains. For commuters who purchase monthly tickets, this simple, wallet-sized card can be worth upwards of $300. In today’s culture, most people do not hold onto their receipts, let alone have it with them every time they ride a train. If transportation agencies had the option for travelers to provide the train attendant with a mobile ticket, the need to hold onto printed tickets would be eliminated, as would the wasted paper.

A lost ticket equates to an expense of hundreds of dollars. Printed receipts are often lost or thrown away. If consumers always had the option of making digital payments and were provided digital receipts, we could abolish paper receipts, thus leading to a more sustainable, greener and more efficient environment.

Article by Lisa Glover of Conversation, posted on MediaPost


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