A Tesco supermarket in Harlow, Essex is trialling a paperless e-receipt system that uses unique customer barcodes to save customers’ receipts to a digital archive. The new system could be rolled out nationwide next year, in place of environmentally damaging paper receipts.
The new system uses unique customer barcodes printed on stickers. When the customer completes a purchase, they scan their barcode using a special terminal at the till. An e-receipt is then generated and added to a secure online archive of the customer’s transactions, which the customer can later access using the Tesco app. Oddly, at this point the terminal also prints a truncated paper receipt – though it’s not clear whether this element would be carried through to a full launch.
Tesco say they will determine whether or not to roll the app out nationwide after studying customer feedback from the current three-month trial, which is due to end next month. A Tesco spokesman told reporters:
“We’re always looking for ways to make the shopping trip a little bit easier for customers.We’re currently trialling a digital receipt service in one of our stores which will allow customers to keep a record of all their receipts in one place.”
Data science with your weekly shop?
There could be much to be gained - for Tesco or any of their competitors - by becoming the first UK supermarket to provide a central hub where customers can review their receipts and streamline their weekly shop. Imagine being able to compare your supermarket spending week-on-week, see which categories of product are costing you the most over the year, or perhaps even receive suggestions on how you can make savings. For Tesco, a service along these lines is only a few steps away – and surely it would provide a fine incentive for customers to place all their eggs in Tesco’s basket?
There’s food for thought here for other retailers too. Encouraging customers to trade in their paper receipts for an e-receipt sounds like a smart strategy for driving uptake of your company’s app or online user area. They get the benefit of a secure, digital archive for their receipts, they help the environment and they can keep tabs on their spending history. You get their eyes on your app, and you might even save a few bob on paper and printing.