May 27th, 2014 | 2 MIN READ

How Walmart Uses Receipts to Personalize Mobile Marketing

Written by author_profile_images Linda Bustos

Linda is an ecommerce industry analyst and consultant specializing in conversion optimization and digital transformation.

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 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 1-1 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.

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