They create a lot of work and endless waste: tons of paper receipts from cash registers end up with customers or the waste bin every day. In early 2020, all consumers must be given a purchase receipt in Germany. That’s what the law mandates.
In this interview, Amir Karimi, managing director of Bremer A&G GmbH explains how retailers can be more sustainable when it comes to receipts and describes the added benefits for retailers and their customers.
Mr. Karimi, what is a paperless receipt?
Amir Karimi: Most point-of-sale systems already create a digital version of sales receipts. Right now, these receipts are printed out for no apparent reason. We simply keep the receipt in digital form and send a digital copy to the customer’s smartphone. This works via an NFC tag or by scanning a QR code at the cash register.
What technology does this require?
Consumers simply download our free app. Most of today’s high-end smartphones come with built-in NFC technology. However, should there be any issues, all users have their own personal QR code, which is scanned at the checkout to deliver the receipt.
With our commercial partners, we integrate a POS system interface or create an external device communication solution (no need to access the POS software). We are in the process of acquiring the technology patent.
Is it already in use?
The timeline will start January 1, 2020, which is when the new law amendments take effect, including the Cash Register Anti-Tampering Ordinance (“Kassensicherungsverordnung”) and the Receipt Provision Ordinance (“Belegausgabepflicht”).
What are the benefits for both retailers and customers?
The benefits for retailers: Thanks to the new technology, the retail industry saves money on paper and ink and has lower repair and maintenance cost of POS systems. This also reduces accounting costs significantly because the accounting department can obtain access to the data. All of this has a positive impact on business performance. Admin also improves customer satisfaction thanks to speedier payment processing. This reduces wait times at the checkout as well. Companies that use this technology can also promote their modern and corporate environment commitment in a more targeted manner. This gives them a competitive advantage and attracts new customers.
At the same time, the consumer has a better overview of receipts and thus a deeper understanding of his/her spending. All receipts are centrally stored in one place. This means customers don’t have to look for them for tax return purposes or warranty claims for example. What’s more, you get suggestions on whether items are tax-deductible.
Are some customers or retailers skeptical about the technology?
There will always be doubts and reservations, because we are all skeptical of new things in the beginning. Yet you have to remember that we don’t want to eliminate cash register receipts altogether. We simply want to offer a great alternative. Instead, we will see an increase of printed receipts in Germany starting in 2020, because the Receipt Provision Ordinance requires retailers to give all customers a receipt for all transactions and purchases - whether customers would like a receipt or not.
Are there any legal considerations in this case? After all, customers need to have an actual receipt if they have any complaints or returns.
You simply show your digital receipt if you launch a complaint or have a return. It is just as legal and valid and not an issue. Our app also includes a warranty tracker that automatically alerts customers when a warranty is about to expire.
What are some other possible applications?
All stores with electronic cash registers can use our product. What’s more, all online retailers can send the invoices to our app. In doing so, customers no longer have to tediously log into various accounts to access the invoices. Everything is centrally stored in one place.