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Race to own the retail receipt unlocks mobile loyalty, coupon opportunities

As retailers increasingly view the in-store experience as the next big push for hypertargeted mobile initiatives, the paper receipt is playing a bigger role in spurring loyalty and repeat customers.

With more consumers actively engaging with their mobile devices while in-store, the strategy behind leveraging the receipt is to take the piece of printed collateral that every shopper already has to the next level. With omnichannel playing a bigger role for retailers, the idea is to more seamlessly tie together in-store and online assets.

“In many ways, as an industry we’ve only scratched the surface in providing personalized offers and information to mobile users even if they have opted in,” said Jeff Hasen, chief marketing officer of Mobivity, Phoenix.

“The receipt changes that, especially when marketers are offered a solution for extracting purchase information without the need to change or even touch the point-of-sale system,” he said.

Leveraging buying data
Although not new, the talk around leveraging a printed receipt with mobile has gained some significant interest from marketers recently.

For example, mobile marketing company Mobivity is acquiring SmartReceipt. The deal will integrate SmartReceipt’s point-of-sale technology into Mobivity’s mobile offerings to give marketers more data to create tailored campaigns around.

Additionally, Unilever’s Knorr recently ran an in-store campaign that encourages consumers to type in the code found on the bottom of the receipt as part of a giveaway (see story).

Promoting mobile on printed receipts can be particularly effective for marketers looking to turn a one-time shopper into a loyalty member through SMS or email program sign-ups.

Marketers can then take that information to better understand areas where mobile’s impact is highest.

For instance, a SmartReceipt text-to-win campaign with a quick-service restaurant in the Los Angeles area generated 17,000 participants. A campaign without a mobile call-to-action in New York only generated 1,900 entrants.

This type of information can help marketers prioritize certain markets for mobile campaigns while cutting down investments in areas where participation is not as strong.

Other types of campaigns that receipts are geared towards include real-time feedback or rebate programs.

Engaged consumers?
With retailers increasingly looking to take advantage of the fact that consumers use their mobile devices more in-store, the receipt is increasingly becoming more sophisticated.

Take a mobile device’s camera, for example.

The increase in better built-in cameras has turned the smartphone and tablet into the primary way that consumers take pictures.

Marketers can leverage these features with image and optical character recognition that reward consumers who share pictures of their receipts with additional information or content.

However, the key is to keep the entry process and pay off simple for consumers.

Therefore, these types of promotions are likely best suited towards mobile messaging versus asking a consumer to download a mobile app, according to Atul Sabharwal, founder of Snipp Interactive, Washington.

Additionally, marketers need to make calls-to-action prominent not only on the receipt, but also on in-store marketing that educates consumers on what to look for on their receipt.

“We think its a huge year for the simple receipt,” Mr. Sabharwal said.

“A large part of the attraction and interest in receipt-based solutions is because of the inherent flexibility in the receipt – and the sheer number of different promotion options available,” he said. “Using receipt data, marketers can create very sophisticated purchase related promotions – incorporating coupons, loyalty, contests, giveaways, and fine tune and segment the programs as needed based on the data available.”

Keeping consumers in-store
Enabling a print receipt with a mobile call-to-action also opens up new opportunities for marketers in keeping consumers in-store for longer periods of time.

With consumers spending more time on their mobile devices to price compare and shop while still inside a store, a compelling mobile call-to-action on a receipt gives a retailer one final chance to hammer in a marketing message before they leave a store.

“People check their phones obsessively, so it’s a perfect consumer touch point,” said Denise Larson, president of NewMediaMetrics, New York.

“Customers will spend just a little more time in the store while they’re checking their mobile receipts,” she said. “If there’s a relevant offer right then and there on the mobile receipt, they’re likely to buy another item before they leave.”

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York