5 Reasons why businesses should give paper receipts the flick this financial year

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5 Reasons why businesses should give paper receipts the flick this financial year
The receipt in your pocket is almost certainly not recyclable
Photo by Michael Walter on Unsplash

We’ve all done it.

We’ve snuck out to the local convenience store for a quick chocolate fix or a piece of fruit, tapped our cards, scrunched up the overly-long receipt reeled off by the self-service machine and shoved it mindlessly into our pockets.  The chances we even thought about this piece of paper as we got on with our days are slim to none.

What may make you think twice next time, however, is that the receipt in your pocket is almost certainly not recyclable. In fact, only 7% of all receipts printed in Australia are.

With a recent study revealing 57% of consumers would change their shopping habits to reduce environmental impact, business owners must look hard at ways to significantly reduce their carbon footprints. This shift in mindset for business owners will only be fully achievable if they also understand the impact they are having as a consumer.  By making a commitment to revamp packaging, cut carbon emissions or ditch paper receipts in favour of digital ones, not only will your business maintain and grow its valued customer base, but it will set an example for others to follow suit, sparking impactful environmental change for the industry as a whole.

The receipts you hand your customers will end up in landfill

Contrary to popular belief, most till receipts are printed on thermal paper rather than the kind that goes in your printer. This means the paper is coated with a material that renders the organic matter entirely unrecyclable, and although many will put their receipts straight in the green bin almost all of them end up in landfill.

Paper receipts are easily lost

No paper filing system can ever be fully safeguarded against accidental damage or loss. A huge two thirds of small businesses lose paper receipts at tax time, falling back on manual bank transaction comparison, diary checking and even simple memory recall to identify lost receipts. The loss of paper receipts puts 25% of businesses out of pocket by up to $10,000, and a further 8% of Australian businesses say they have lost significantly more - between $10,000 and $100,000. 

Digital receipts can provide you with invaluable customer insights

Digital receipts give retailers the ability to gather insights from a consumer’s purchases and track their habits. By tying the knot between purchasing decisions and understanding their customer on a deeper level, businesses will be able to offer their patrons more informed decision making, targeted marketing and better customer experiences. This information can also be used for customer retention, with 86% saying that this level of personalisation actually influences their purchases. So, something as simple as digitising a receipt can enhance customer shopping journeys, increase the sale of more products and raise your brand profile.

Paper receipts can contain harmful toxins

The thermal paper on which most receipts are printed contains Bisphenol A (BPA) or Bisphenol S (BPS), industrial chemicals that are used to produce specific kinds of plastic. The chemicals on the receipt can easily transfer onto your hands or even the groceries in your shopping bag, harboring toxins that - unbeknown to you - could harm your customers or their families.

Going paperless will save you time on next year's tax return

Nearly half of business owners (42%) indicate that gathering old receipts is the most time-consuming part of the tax process, with a further 39% noting that fact checking takes the most time. As long as our receipts remain tangible, so will our efforts to organise and log them at the end of each financial year. With nearly two thirds of small businesses in Australia opting to manage their tax returns internally, making the shift from paper to digital receipts could save significant time and unnecessary stress next year.

Paul Weingarth is CEO and co-founder of Slyp.

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