How your supermarket receipt could soon come via email

Supermarket customers could soon be saying goodbye to paper receipts, with stores considering providing them by email instead.

Recent start-up eReceipts says it's in talks with five major supermarkets about introducing the technology and expects to make an announcement soon. Unsurprisingly - the company is headed by former Tesco chairman Lord MacLaurin - Tesco is high on the list.

%VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%"Next year is the big launch of all the big brands we've got on board," says eReceipts founder and CEO Andrew Carroll. "Nobody really wants to make such big changes with Christmas coming up, but we'll have news early in the new year."

Customers would still have the option of collecting a paper receipt at the till. However, if they choose the electronic version, their receipt will be emailed to them instead.

The advantages for the supermarkets are enormous. At a stroke, they get access to their customers' email addresses and shopping habits, whether or not the customer belongs to a loyalty scheme. This data can be used to help target special offers and track the progress of promotional campaigns.

What's in it for the customers, though, is a little less clear. As with loyalty schemes, there will be the opportunity for personalised special offers. Customers can, though, opt out of this, and will be able to remain anonymous. And the system will prevent those infuriating situations where customers want to return something to the store for a refund, but can't find the original receipt.

"It's all about never losing your receipt again. You have the ability to have the receipt on call whenever you want," says Carroll. "You also have the history of all your receipts, so you can track and analyse your spending."

The eReceipts system has already been trialled by retailers including Monsoon and French Connection. And, earlier this year, north-western supermarket chain Booths introduced the technology as part of a new loyalty card scheme. Here, says Carroll, around 15 percent of customers have taken up the option of electronic receipts.

"We are committed to providing our customers with the best shopping experience and see eReceipts as the future," says Booths' chief operating officer Chris Dee. The company says it now knows far more about its customers - from their average spend to their favourite time of day for shopping.

Seven of the craziest supermarket glitches
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How your supermarket receipt could soon come via email

One of the most popular glitches, was a wine deal at Tesco back in November 2012, where a series of offers clashed, leaving a bottle of £9.99 wine selling for £1.50.

The 'three wines for £10' deal apparently clashed with a '25% off when you buy six or more bottles' deal. The 25% was accidentally taken off the original price rather than the reduced one, leaving the wine at rock bottom prices. Deal-hunters cleared the shelves around the country.

Perhaps the most popular glitch from Tesco came in June 2011, when instead of taking £4 off the cost of a £20 case of beer, the supermarket accidentally started selling the cases for £4. The ensuring rush was nicknamed the 'beer stampede'.

Sadly not every supermarket pricing glitch comes with such a happy ending for consumers. In March last year the bargain-hunters thought their luck was in, when Tesco accidentally priced the new iPad at just £44.99 instead of around £650. Sadly it spotted the mistake before shipping the goods. The small print on its website meant it could refuse to sell at this price, and refund their customers instead.

In September 2012, Asda was responsible for one of the most expensive glitches. The Asda Price Guarantee offered vouchers to customers who could have got their shopping cheaper elsewhere.

However, when certain trigger products were in the basket, the supermarket massively under-priced the shopping at other supermarkets, and offered huge vouchers to shoppers. In many instances the vouchers came to roughly the same as the cost of the shopping.

In April, a mistake on their website resulted in Tesco selling 8 packs of Bulmers cider 568ml bottles for £5 - rather than a six pack for £8.

Deal-hunters snapped up the deal online, and had varying degrees of success. Some had their order delivered in full, others had six delivered for £5 - and were able to negotiate their way to another two, while others were offered six for £5 or their money back.

October last year saw one of the most famous glitches, when Tesco Terry's Chocolate Oranges were subject to two deals at the same time, and the price dropped from £2.75 to 29p. There were plenty of people getting chocolate oranges last Christmas.

A buy-one-get-one-free deal went awry at Tesco in March. People putting four tubs of I can't Believe It's Not Butter or Oykos yogurt packs into the trolley were only being charged for one.

Soon the online deal-hunting community was in action, with one person bagging 50 tubs of butter and 22 pots of yogurt for £8.79 - a saving of £133.89.


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