Growth Hacking Your Way To E-commerce Success: Receipts Are The Future Of E-mail Marketing

by Shikhar Srivastava 4,228 views0


In an earlier post on e-commerce growth hacking I described how e-commerce business owners can use apps like Tweepi and find useful hacks to grow their business.Some of these apps can provide you with some really neat hacks and I will cover more such apps in future. For now, let’s shift our attention to arguably the most underrated and ignored customer retention hack ever – the receipt.

A receipt is what you receive when you pay for a product or a service. It acts as an acknowledgement of the items purchased and the amount paid. E-mail receipts work pretty much the same as paper receipts. But receipts can be optimized in ways that help you build brand loyalty and make your customers come back for repeat purchases. There is tremendous untapped opportunity in digital receipts, such as e-mail receipts, and it is up to e-commerce brands to make use of this opportunity and grow their business.

Use receipts for customer retention

E-mail receipts present a great opportunity for e-commerce brands to retain customers. The point is if you are already sending a receipt to your customer why would you not want to engage that customer further by including a call-to-action (CTA) in the receipt itself?

While receipts are generally used for record keeping purposes, with an e-mail receipt you can use a CTA to offer your customer a discount on a repeat purchase. You can direct them to your social media pages. You can give them information on the next big sale from a particular vendor. There is a ton of things you can do with a receipt by engaging a customer, with a CTA, in the receipt itself.

Use receipts for referral marketing and create an opportunity to acquire new customers at no extra cost

Customer acquisition is hard. And expensive. Every business owner knows that.Then why would you let go of an opportunity to acquire a new customer while still retaining your current customer at practically no extra cost?

While referral marketing has been a huge success over the years, it is also one of the not-so-intuitive ways to acquire new customers. What if you can introduce an element of interactivity to the usually humdrum e-mail receipt? The likes of Uber do that and do that spectacularly well. The secret to Uber’s success has been word of mouth marketing.

“95% of all our riders have heard about Uber from other Uber riders. Our virality is almost unprecedented. For every 7 rides we do, our users’ big mouths generate a new rider.” – From the Uber blog.

Uber uses e-mail receipts to allow its customers to refer another customer while earning a fixed amount of Uber money for themselves. Giving this offer to customers isn’t revolutionary anymore and it isn’t unheard of, but what makes this a brilliant growth hack is that Uber uses its e-mail receipt for the rider’s last ride to push this scheme forward. And they do it subtly. A simple CTA without getting in the customer’s face too much.

Image credits: Blinkux and Tristan Plank

Returning customers pay more than new customers. Use receipts to get their attention.

Returning customers pay almost 67% more than new customers. Why not use the last step in order confirmation – a receipt – as a means to further engage your customer?  E-mail open rates for receipts are some of the highest open rates for any kind of e-mail. This is because people like to check whether their order has been confirmed and if the list of items in the receipt reads exactly what they had ordered. Therein lies the opportunity for e-commerce brands to utilize receipts and bring added value to their business.

Growth hacking revolves around trying to find what works best for your business through solid research and consistent experimentation. If you are an e-commerce brand I recommend that you start using e-mail receipts as the growth hack your business deserves because even if you choose to ignore it now, innovative e-commerce brands will take a cue from the likes of Uber and find similar growth hacks in the e-commerce sphere using e-mail receipts.

We leave you with an insightful quote from Twitter Co-founder and Square CEO Jack Dorsey about receipts.

“What if we see the receipt more as a publishing medium – a product unto itself that people actually want to take home, that they want to engage with, be fully interactive with? What can we do with this everyday tool? What can we build into this canvas that’s actually valuable, that’s independent of the product you just sold? What can you give in this communication channel, this publishing medium, that people want to engage with?” – Jack Dorsey.

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