California's Skip the Slip Legislation
Digital receipts may soon be a requirement in the state of California
In January, California Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) introduced AB161, a new piece of legislation that could be a serious game-changer for the California Retail industry. Bill 161, nicknamed “Skip the Slip”, aims to require California merchants to issue digital receipts in place of paper.
The main goal of this bill is to decrease the amount of paper and natural resources which are used to manufacture receipt paper used by thousands of merchants across the state.
Ironically, the amount of paperless, digital technology that exists today hasn’t exactly caused a decline in paper production. In fact, according to Green America, receipt paper usage has been steadily increasing. In the United States alone, it’s rising at a rate of 2.3% annually and is expected to continue through 2025.
The environmental impact is simply enormous.
Over 9 billion gallons of water, 3.3 million trees, 4.6 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions….the list goes on. At a time where people worldwide are working to reduce – even eliminate – plastic materials which are harming our planet, surely so much paper filling up our landfills should also be a matter of public concern.
Consumers Demand Technology, Technology Demands Change
77% of Americans have smartphones. Consumers enjoy constant connectivity and expect information at their fingertips in real time. As society progresses, e-receipts will become the norm, and merchants who don’t keep up with changing trends will be left behind (ahem, Blockbuster).
The Retail industry is already heading in this direction as more and more shops send receipts via email and text messaging. The days of searching bags and pockets for misplaced receipts are soon coming to an end.
Retail is All About an Experience
It’s 2019 and what’s on every retailer’s mind is this:
How can we enhance and optimize the retail experience?
From AR tools in department stores and home furnishing shops, to digital closets and 3D printed fashion, to drones and biometric payments, technology is constantly evolving.
Virtually every retail company and consumer goods manufacturer has a mobile app, and a plethora of loyalty programs abound, all begging for attention and business.
Digital receipts allow retailers to create authentic and effective customer engagement tools. Remember those discounts on the back of receipts? They haven’t disappeared, they’re simply on your smartphone now. Need to exchange a new shirt for a different color? No need to go hunting for a tiny piece of paper; just check your phone.
That’s an optimized retail experience right in the palm of your hand.
Skip the Slip will have a large impact on California Retail and repercussions across other states. Those who oppose Bill 161 may want to question their thinking. When it comes to digital receipts, the world is already moving forward as progress and technological solutions are simply inevitable.