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Should my business offer email receipts

4 min read

In our increasingly digitised world, the days of having a wallet full of scrunched-up receipts could be numbered. Email receipts are a modern twist on traditional paper slips, but should you bother with e-receipts and what are the benefits for your business?

What are email receipts?

Email receipts are a form of digital receipt that you can send to a customer’s inbox following a payment. You could decide to only issue e-receipts, or give customers both options – paper or electronic. Email receipts might feel like a new kid on the block, but they’ve been around since 2005, when Apple became one of the first companies to offer paperless receipts to their customers.

What are the benefits of email receipts?

Technology is making many aspects of running a business easier, from bookkeeping to contactless payments, and email receipts are another innovation you may want to consider. Let’s look at some of the benefits of offering digital receipts to your customers:

  • Customer satisfaction. Who wants to walk around with a pocketful of paper? Your regulars may appreciate the ease and convenience of getting their receipts by email within seconds.
  • They may be better for the environment. There are 11 billion paper receipts printed every year in the UK, and most of these are non-recyclable. Email receipts could mean less waste, and could be a good way to highlight your company’s green credentials.
  • Marketing opportunities. When you ask a customer whether they’d like a digital receipt, you can also take the opportunity to request their consent for other email communications, such as special offers and newsletters.
  • You could save time and money. By offering email receipts, you may not need to spend quite so much money on buying paper till rolls each month. And it might seem like a small thing, but it takes time to insert till rolls correctly, plus there’s always the dreaded risk of a paper jam .
  • Less likely to get damaged or lost. Email receipts can be effortlessly sent to an inbox, and the fact they can’t be damaged (unlike paper) means you’ll avoid having to squint at your rain-soaked receipts when completing your own business tax returns.

What are the concerns about e-receipts?

While offering electronic receipts could be a positive move in building customer loyalty through targeted comms, it’s important to appreciate that not every customer is ready to give up those crumpled bits of paper. In fact, a Which? survey found that only 23% of people would prefer an e-receipt to a paper one. So what are the barriers to overcome?

  • Privacy concerns. According to the same Which? survey, a majority (70%) of respondents said they were concerned about retailers misusing their data when sending electronic receipts.
  • Not receiving receipts Even though e-receipts are a technological solution, there is the risk of human error as emails are manually inputted. Getting a customer’s email address wrong means they won’t receive proof of their purchase.
  • Data security. Your customers’ email addresses need to be stored safely to prevent any data breach and reduce their exposure to fraud.

How to be GDPR compliant with digital receipts

Every business must be GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) compliant when it comes to handling customers’ personal information, and that includes email receipts. At a minimum, here are some ways you can work towards UK GDPR compliance when issuing digital receipts:

  1. If you offer a customer an email receipt at the till, you must inform them that they will receive marketing communications, if that is the case.
  2. You must give them the opportunity to opt-out of receiving marketing communications.
  3. Minimise the amount of data you collect unless it is necessary and relevant to issuing the e-receipt, or the marketing they’ve consented to.
  4. Give your customers the freedom to unsubscribe from any emails they receive in addition to the electronic receipt.
  5. Avoid sending your customers any emails that aren’t relevant to the products or services you offer.

In addition, remember that if you input an email address incorrectly, you risk compromising a customer’s personal data. Some businesses prefer to allow their customers to type their email address themselves, which means you can potentially serve the next customer and reduce queues.

Are email receipts worth it?

Email receipts are a handy option for businesses that want to help the environment and give their customers greater convenience. As we’ve covered, you’ll need to make sure you’re GDPR compliant and take data security seriously.

Read more at Tyl Talks

There’s a lot to get your head around when it comes to running a business, and Tyl Talks is a useful place for all things entrepreneurial. Check out more of our articles and guides:


This has been prepared by Tyl by NatWest for informational purposes only and should not be treated as advice or a recommendation. There may be other considerations relevant to you and your business so you should undertake your own independent research.

Tyl by NatWest makes no representation, warranty, undertaking or assurance (express or implied) with respect to the adequacy, accuracy, completeness, or reasonableness of the information provided.

Tyl by NatWest accepts no liability for any direct, indirect, or consequential losses (in contract, tort or otherwise) arising from the use of the information contained herein. However, this shall not restrict, exclude, or limit any duty or liability to any person under any applicable laws or regulations of any jurisdiction which may not be lawfully disclaimed.

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