Turn your receipts from black and white to technicolour conversion tools

Challenge for this week - use your receipt to increase sales or referrals

Go technicolour with your customer receipts

Source, Belo Horizonte, Brasil

Did you know that your email receipts get on average a 70% open rate? How many of you have a system-generated, generic receipt that you’ve tailored only with 'thank you for the sale' message? Why not take this black and white opportunity and turn it into a technicolour conversion opportunity?

One of the things that I like to talk about is that the sale is never closed. What do I mean by this? In today’s social transparency age, you have to keep treating your customer like they're your next sale. The social age makes customer advocacy and/or disgruntlement the potential face of your brand at any moment in time.

What’s more, if you actually continue to court your existing customers like potential new customers with ways to interest, intrigue or add value to them, you’re laying the groundwork for a great genuine relationship where you can turn them from customer to advocate and fan.

It also has the benefit of having already won half the battle in terms of the next sale. They already know who you are. So if you’ve got a good product or service, then you’re not a stranger.

The challenge

Your challenge is how to use it to increase either future sales or leads/referrals by tailoring your receipt to make an offer of some kind to your customer.

Step 1

First step is to decide on what you want to do with it. Here are some ideas on what you can do with your receipts.

  1. Offer a discount on their next sale

  2. Offer a discount if they refer a friend

  3. Offer a gift or upgrade for a referral

  4. Ask them to share their happiness via social channels (they won’t share if you don’t ask)

  5. Ask for a picture of them with your product posted with a hashtag for a discount

  6. Ask for review

  7. Up-sell to similar or related products

  8. Ask for feedback on your service/product.

If you're in the position where you're sending things in the  mail to them, consider having two versions of your receipt.

The first - the email version which has a clickable call to action. The second - the printed version which has another call to action.


Your email receipt offers a click to share on social channels or with a friend. Your printed receipt offers a discount on a future sale/referral.

It’s a double whammy.

When working out what you want to use your receipt for, think about the consideration phase for purchase. Where do most of your potential customers hang out? How do they hear about your service - from friends, via a search engine? Think about these and then think about what’s the best ask on the receipt. For example: 

  • If you’ve got a product that most people are unlikely to need two of, then focus on a referral.
  • If you’ve got a service that needs exposure and more eyes considering you, then focus on a social share.
  • If you’re a local business, then focus on a rating or recommendation to help with your local business Google listings.
  • If you’ve got a lot of complementary products then focus on a ‘this goes with that’ kind of offer.

Make it worth it

When you’re making the offer, make it worth their while and something that will resonate with them. One of the best examples I’ve seen is the Uber service. The receipt prints out a picture of the your driver whom you’ve chatted with, established a rapport and it asks you to rate your driver. This helps your driver’s future hireability and the ask is likely well received as it’s in the driver's interest to be personable and helpful so you've likely had a good experience.

If you’re a business with no opportunity to establish a good rapport with your customer then you’re going to have to offer something more, like a discount of substance to get the action happening.

Step 2

Make it trackable. If you’ve got links in your email then make sure you’ve got a tracking code to see what they do with it. If you’re offering a discount then make sure you’re tracking the voucher/code take up.

If you can, benchmark the activity. It’s likely you’re not actively tracking what happens with any receipt follow up, but you might be able to benchmark some things, like repeat sales or customer shares/comments and any positive or negative sentiment around these. After all, you don’t want to make a success of this and not be able to brag about it, right?

Step 3

Once you’ve decided on your approach you’ll need to have a conversation with your developer.

A lot of you will be working with a templated receipt which may be difficult to change. However, a lot of systems do allow the CSS to be modified and you should take advantage of this to make sure that the receipt isn’t a boring black and white lost opportunity.

Make the design and message on your receipt impact-full and if you can afford it, spend a little time to get it professionally designed. Remember most people aren’t expecting anything more than confirmation that they’ve been charged the right amount, so take the opportunity to be visually engaging and make an impact.  

Examples of companies using their receipts to increase the customer relationship for the future


95% of all our riders have heard about Uber from other Uber riders.

You can see how they have really added value and contributed to the virality and future sales. They've: 

  • offered a future discount to share on Facebook, Twitter and email.
  • included a rating feature for the driver.
  • included a link in case you’ve forgotten something - hello - how thoughtful!
  • opened up communication in case something wasn’t quite right.
  • added complete transparency with the map of your journey.

CP Communications

This is a PR agency. They've used the receipt to incorporate a strong share signal.

Catriona Pollard

Airport parking

The receipt from an aiport parking company has gone to town and added a number of value-adds that are relevant to the traveller. Have a look.  

Airport parking receipt

They've added: 

  • value with a link to a map to make it easy to find the location
  • some vouchers for shops within the airport 
  • a special deal for future parking services.
  • a feedback loop to learn how they’re acquiring customers
  • lots of value added links to help you get started
  • some share icons.

Can you improve on these?

Send me your examples, I’d love to see them and feature them for other’s to see how it can be done better.

So good luck - and go forth and prosper my friends.

One last word

If this was of interest, you may like the upcoming free webinar on the '2016 digital trends and how they'll impact on small businesses'. Just 40 minutes of your time. You can register here