Tesco trials digital receipts and self-scanner tech

The supermarket giant is aiming to eliminate paper receipts as consumers head towards a “paperless future”.

Tesco is trialling Tap&Tag technology, which replaces paper receipts with digital receipts when customers make a purchase at one of its stores.

To use the system, customers simply tap on the Tap&Tag console at the checkout with any contactless bank card or NFC enabled phone. And following an online registration, a digital receipt is sent instantly via email, app or web portal to the customer’s chosen device. There is also an option for participating retailers to attach offers and promotions to the digital receipts.

Should Tesco rollout the technology across its estate – something it will decide once the trial ends in November – it will fully integrate Tap&Tag so customers instantly receive a digital receipt, rather than a paper one, through the Tesco app.

Neil McGeough, technical programme manager at Tesco, said the trial, which is currently taking place at two stores in Harlow, Essex, is a bid to reduce its paper costs, carbon footprint and to give customers more choice.

He told Marketing Week: “We are edging towards a completely paperless future when it comes to receipts and this is because digital natives just don’t like putting paper into their wallets.

“This trend will keep on growing over the next five years and wallets will become a thing of the past. Soon there will be receipts on your phone, loyalty cards on your phone and bank details on you phone.”

Kevin Kane, marketing director of digital receipts, loyalty and tech solutions at Tag Retail Systems, which is the owner of the Tap&Tag technology, said its aim is to enable a paperless future, where things such as Oystercard top-ups instantly come with a digital receipt.

He also believes Tap & Tag can help receipts evolve into a “new marketing channel”. He explained: “It isn’t just about giving customers more choice and less paper but with the digital receipts retailers can also attach tailored offers and messaging at the end of the digital receipts to keep people coming back to a particular store or location.”

Reducing theft

tesco food
Tesco is also trialling new camera technology to cut down on self-scanner checkout theft

One of the biggest benefits of digital receipts for Tesco, according to McGeough, will be in eliminating fraud.

Currently, customer returns without receipts cost Tesco around £8m annually. Therefore mass integration of digital receipt technology such as Tap&Tag will allow it to instantly determine “how much is fraud and how much is legitimate”.

British shoppers steal more than £1.6bn worth of items from supermarket self-service tills every year, according to a study from VoucherCodesPro.co.uk. Its 2014 study claimed shoppers are stealing on average £15 worth of goods every month from self-scanners.

And to also eliminate this issue, Tesco is currently trialling new technology at one of its stores. McGeough explained: “We’re trialling cameras that sit above the self-service tills and are designed to scan irregular customer item scanning and to alert a member of staff. It is still early days but if it’s successful it could save us millions.”

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