How Walmart Uses Receipts to Personalize Mobile Marketing



While e-receipts and retail loyalty card programs have been around for years, few have made the move to mobile.

Last week, Walmart rolled out a new twist on the e-receipt, giving customers the option to save them to their mobile applications. Rather than email receipts,which are often forgotten or deleted, mobile e-receipts are treated as pieces of content that can be interacted with and used to personalize in-store and mobile experiences.

How it works

At checkout, a customer provides a mobile phone number into the debit card reader, selects e-receipt, and opts in to receive a free text message after the transaction is processed. If the customer has an account, the phone number will sync the transaction details to his or her account. Receipts can also be scanned via QR code.

How customers benefit

Customers can search e-receipts stored within the app, add items from e-receipts to a new shopping list (connected with store availability and current pricing), receive targeted offers, and claim returns without having to hang onto a receipt. The app also uses geo-tools for product location in-store.

How Walmart will use data

Walmart’s senior VP of mobile and digital strategy, Wendy Bergh, describes this as a platform that will produce a firehose of transactional data, which connected to the Walmart app can be used to personalize shopping lists and target offers.

Bergh doesn’t specify if this platform will interact with iBeacons, though doing so could tap into a wealth of data and personalization opportunities, such as tracking in-store navigation to analyze which departments are frequently visited, duration of visits and frequency of sales per department on a one-to-one basis. Or, track a customer’s response to in-store offers (did the customer locate the item and buy/not buy, or simply ignore the offer?)

Time will tell whether Walmart (or other retailers) will connect e-receipts with in-store content and experiences, such as iBeacon, but Walmart believes the experiment is worth the investment.

“We want be the leader at the intersection of digital and physical. It is a critical piece of Walmart’s strategy to lead in retail and e-receipts is one of the technologies that we believe is going to help accelerate us on that front” says Bergh.

Reprinted by permission.
Image Credit: CC by ben_osteen

About the author: Linda Bustos

As Director of Ecommerce Research at Elastic Path, Linda Bustos works with some of the world’s largest companies to help improve conversion rates and profitability on the Web. In addition to writing the Get Elastic blog since 2007, Linda’s articles have appeared in Mobile Marketer, CMO Magazine, E-Marketing + Commerce, and Search Marketing Standard. She is a frequent speaker at industry events, including XCommerce, Conversion Conference, and Affiliate Management Days.

In 2010, Linda earned a spot on the DMNews Top 30 Direct Marketers Under 30 list. She has served as faculty for the Banff New Media Institute’s Career Accelerator Program and Marketing Profs University, and has appeared as one of the Top 100 Influential Marketers of the year in 2008 and 2009. Prior to joining Elastic Path, Linda worked agency-side, specializing in usability and SEO.

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