Why Consumer Goods Companies Love Receipts

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You’re in a Walgreens, you buy your toiletries and then you get asked if you want a receipt. Increasingly, I just don’t bother taking it or if I do I throw it out on my way out of the store. After all, what better proof of purchase than having the goods in my hand!

While I no longer really see the point of receipts, apart from for high ticket items, they have the potential to be an incredibly powerful weapon for consumer goods companies. A number of technology startups are using the combination of receipts and technology to help brands understand the buying habits of consumers and drive measurable in-store sales, without having to rely on data from the retailer.

Anatomy of a Receipt

Until meeting a number of start-ups as part of a recent retail shopper marketing assignment for a big consumer brand, I have never spent much time looking at the vast information on a receipt. Studying a receipt in more detail reveals just how much information is on there.

Sample Receipt from Snipp
Courtesy of Snipp.

As part of a recent brand assignment, we met with a couple of startups that had two killer uses for the data generated from these receipts.

From Receipts To Data Insights

To date, brands have typically got consumer insights from the big research companies and their shopper panels. However, one company, Infoscout, is using receipts to give consumer brands some incredibly valuable insights. The really clever bit though is the way it incentivizes consumers to photograph receipts. It does so through a growing suite of apps designed to appeal to different audiences.

The two biggest apps right now are Receipt Hog, a Tamagotchi game where you upload receipts to nurture your Hog and Shoparoo, which enables parents to raise money for kids schools through photographing receipts. Their goal is to create a panel of over 1m people gathering data through receipt uploads. They are well on their way and smart brands like Kraft, Nestle, Unilever, P&G are all taking advantage.

Closing The Sales Loop

It’s incredibly difficult for a consumer goods company to run a shopper marketing campaign which reaches the consumer in-store and then measure sales uplift through proof of purchase without the co-operation of retailers. The answer lies in, you guessed it, the receipt.

There are a number of startups that are using the combination of receipts, image recognition and smart campaign mechanics to do just this. One such company, Snipp, based in Washington DC, is taking it a step further and working with partners such as Placescast, location-based ad serving, to drive consumers in-
store, incentivize a purchase and then using that purchase data to then re-target customers. This takes retargeting to a whole new level.

Now that consumers all carry smartphones, consumer goods companies, for the first time have the ability to get deep insights and drive measurable sales in-store without being beholden to retailers. This is just the beginning but I am sure we will see more and more start-ups providing value to consumer goods companies by using technology to by-pass the retailer.

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