Going Digital at the Cash Register

No paper receipt in the bottom of the bag

There could be fewer paper receipts at the bottom of shopping bags this holiday season as more stores are now sending out electronic receipts.

Popular stores like Nordstrom, Macy's and Banana Republic are offering to email customers receipts at the point of purchase in lieu of printing out a traditional paper receipt at the register.

"I think it's a natural progression for another paper intensive area of life," said Sarina Dahukey with the high tech research company Gap Intelligence.

Dahukey says she doesn't think printed receipts will go away but that more retailers will offer digital as an option.

For consumers, paperless receipts sent to an email account could be easier to keep track of with no chance of losing the paper copy.

But the retail stores could also use that email address for other purposes.

"The store gets a data file on a new consumer," said San Diego State marketing professor Steven Osinksi.

Not only can the store create a file of information but they also get an email address to use for ads and promotions.

Many stores say they will not share the personal information of their customers. 

But Osinski says customers should ask about the retail store's privacy policy before giving out their email address for a digital receipt.

Sarina Dahukey suggests that customers create an email address just for receipts and other marketing interaction.

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