When you make a purchase in a retail store, it’s highly likely that the sales associate will offer you the option to receive an electronic receipt via email. For many shoppers, e-receipts provide a convenient, paperless way to store and keep track of expenditures and transactions. And for retailers, e-receipts provide a new and valuable touch point to reach customers with highly targeted offers.
Why are e-receipts such an effective marketing tool? Because people open emails containing transactional data at far higher rates than other types of email communication. How much higher? According to a recent study published by MarketingSherpa, email marketing open rates average around 18.9%. By contrast, open rates for transactional emails deliver a 40% open rate – in excess of double the average.
Because transactional emails are opened at such high rates, they provide a great opportunity to present personalized, timely offers based on what the customer just purchased. For instance, if a customer has recently purchased bath towels, a special discount offer on matching hand towels delivered with the e-receipt is both timely and personalized from the customer’s point of view.
Because the marketing potential is so great – and because shoppers now expect an e-receipt option at the point of sale – retailers are moving en masse quickly and decisively to implement the capability. However, while convenient for customers and valuable for retailers, e-receipts are vulnerable to fraud if they aren’t delivered securely.
If a hacker intercepts a customer’s e-receipt, that customer becomes a ripe target for phishing fraud. While many people are prudently suspicious about emails in their inbox from unfamiliar organizations requesting “verification” around personal information, an email that’s expected – like an e-receipt – can catch them off guard.
Why is it important to pay special attention to secure document delivery with respect to e-receipts?
When customers receive email offers, receipts and other messages from retailers where they regularly shop, the communication seems familiar and logical. And, if a customer has recently made a purchase and is expecting an electronic receipt in their email box, it’s even more likely that the most vigilant and savvy email users will fall victim to phishing.
High Open Rates
Phishing scams only work if the email subscriber opens and interacts with the content contained within the email. Because open rates for transactional email messages are so high, the pool of people who are exposed to potential fraud is significantly larger than what would be expected for other types of email messages.
Sensitive Personal Information
While e-receipts don’t typically contain “confidential” information, they do contain sensitive personal information that retail customers rightfully expect to remain private and secure. For instance, if a customer has booked an airline ticket, the e-receipt will contain names and travel dates. Or, if a customer has purchased infant supplies at a discount retailer, the receipt will likely contain the date and time of the purchase along with the store location. While this type of information is not explicitly confidential, it is personal and sensitive.
E-receipts will continue to proliferate in the retail environment because they deliver clear value to both shoppers and retailers. However, they’re only as valuable as they are safe – this is why secure document delivery with respect to e-receipts is so important.