Paperless receipts are one of the least evolved aspects of retail, and it's about time things changed, say the duo behind Paperkut.
The startup's white-label paperless receipt platform aggregates receipts by connecting with high street retailers, online stores, public transport systems, and other point of sale systems.
And its front end consumer service, known as Free Your Wallet, will be hitting the market in coming months.
Paperkut chief executive Nick Harley says the trial will be mainly focused around Wellington and hopes to whet consumers' appetites with the offering.
A handful of users have signed up and about 1000 retailers nationwide already have their systems integrated with Paperkut that could potentially add the Free Your Wallet capabilities, although Harley says it's a bit of a "chicken and egg" situation.
Consumers make purchases as normal – and can still receive printed receipts if they like – and Free Your Wallet's technology automatically sends them a digital version.
For users, the system enables automatic storage of digital copies of receipts in a dedicated online account, where the copies can be viewed and organised in case they need to return an item or submit an expense claim.
No personally identifiable information is made available to retailers. Receipts are matched with their owners using identifiers – for example, a credit/debit card, loyalty card, transport card, email address, mobile number – as chosen by the user.
“That is something we focused on from an early stage,” CTO Drew Broadley says. “We don’t rely on you providing an email address in-store to receive your receipt, or get customers to take photos of receipts with their smartphone/tablets. That’s just time-consuming and adds a behavioural change to the process. Handing over your email address to retailers creates a lot of problems for customers and the retailer with regards to privacy."
Data from multiple retail partners and services is boiled down into a common receipt format, all collated in the same place. Harley says this also offers more in-depth purchase information than what current internet banking systems allow.
And there's the option to export your spending into common accounting file formats and automatically email receipts to a certain email address (for example, your accounts department).
Shoppers can also link loyalty cards to a Free Your Wallet account, while retailers can reward customers with specially created deals on receipts (often removing the need to swipe a card). They only pay a fee when a deal is redeemed by the user.
Harley says while retailers don't have access to buyers' personal details, they do have access to anonymous back-end analytic reports with basic demographic information like age and gender that can help craft targeted advertising offers to encourage shoppers to return.
He says the advent of NFC will be a boon, too, once loyalty cards and transactions are commonly enabled through tap-and-go mobile payments.