Why eReceipts Will Help All the Stores Closing in 2017
More stores closed in 2008 than ever before - 6163 in a single year. Yet 2017 is poised to outdo 2008 by a long shot. As of June 20, 5300 stores have announced they are closing some (or all) of their doors, setting 2017 up to close nearly twice the amount of stores in 2008.
There is a key difference between the 2008 and 2017 closings, however. In 2008, store closings were almost entirely due to the Great Recession. People were shopping less, so stores were making less money, effectively pushing them out of business. In 2017, some stores are filing bankruptcy for sure, but those which are filing bankruptcy are doing so because of outdated models (think Radioshack), not because of a general economic downturn. Rather, most companies are simply closing some of their brick-and-mortar stores, typically in locations that just aren’t performing well because of the rise in eCommerce. In many parts of the US, it is now much, much easier for someone to order what they want online, rather than driving potentially an hour or more to get to a store. Even in populated areas, eCommerce has caught on because it is, again, more convenient to order something from the comfort of your home, rather than brave the crowds. That said, most stores will still have physical locations in high trafficked areas.
With all of these closings, it becomes even more imperative that stores are staying in touch with their customers. If you’re closing your store in Lynchburg, VA, but you’re still active online and your Richmond, VA store will still be open, you want to be sure that your Lynchburg area customers know that. The best way to do that? Implement digital receipts in your stores (before you start closing them). Digital receipts will ensure that you don’t lose any customers just because a physical location will no longer be open because digital receipts are one of the most important tools for retailers in our omnichannel world. Digital receipts allow stores to bridge the gap between their physical and online locations in a way that allows for closing a location while not losing any customers.
1. eReceipts ensure that you are collecting your customer’s contact info - their reliable, active contact info.
Staying in touch with your customers requires some way to contact them. These days the best way to do that is email. And the best way to collect your customers' emails hands down is by using electronic receipts. Digital receipts have a 50% adoption rate at stores that offer both paper and digital, suggesting customers tend to prefer digital. More importantly, customers will give out an active, correct email address for an eReceipt, because they actively need that receipt.
2. You can include information about your active locations in the receipt.
Dynamic digital receipts are better than just a plain digital receipt. If you implement dynamic receipts, you can actually include information about what locations will remain open near the customer, and you can change the information displayed depending on which store that customer purchased in, or other information you might have about them.
3. You can follow up with customers.
And of course, once you’ve got a customer’s email address, you can follow up with them about other information you’d like them to know about your store locations or your online shop. You can send them information about your free shipping threshold, or your free online returns.If you offer neither of these, a. You really should. B. You may consider running a special free shipping/returns promotion for your newly store-less customers, to encourage them to try you out online.
And naturally, don’t stop there: use their email addresses to send them other marketing information! The best way to beat closing more stores is to make sure that your current customers are highly engaged and continually purchasing and revisiting your stores.
Despite the massive number of store closings in 2017, it’s not nearly as worrisome as 2008. Much of 2017 store closings speak to the omnichannel method that Americans have begun to approach retail with. And in 2017, stores have access to important tools like digital receipts that allow them to create an omnichannel experience in which closing some physical locations does not mean losing any customers.