On a recent visit to Cary, NC, I visited a local The Fresh Market grocery store a few times. The new e-receipt system is a win-win for both customers and the business.
The first time going through the checkout line, the card reader prompts the customer for an e-mail address. There are several benefits for consumers sharing this information with the store:
- the system can send electronic receipts for purchases made at the store
- on subsequent visits, the system will recognize the credit card used during sign-up, and sends the e-receipt without additional prompting. Checkout is much faster this way
- customers can receive promotions, coupons and other product suggestions in their inbox. Fortunately, the e-mail preferences can be updated to reduce or completely eliminate these messages.
With e-mails associated with credit cards The Fresh Market stores can analyze the purchasing habits, as well as the location and frequencies of store visits, for each person participating in this program. Shorter checkout times mean that more customers can be serviced at each cashier.
My personal experience with the service was exceptional. On my first visit the credit card reader terminal asked for my e-mail address. The screen had auto-completion for the most common e-mail providers (e.g. gmail.com, yahoo.com), so I hardly had to type anything. After signing up, I received not just the detailed electronic receipt, but a coupon offering $10 off of a $50 or more purchase within a week. This is a very smart way to encourage customers to continue using the efficient system. On my next visit, the checkout time was shorter as the reader recognized my card and sent the e-receipt right away without any prompting.
The Fresh Market stands as the epitome of what an easy customer checkout system should be like. I can only hope that stores closer to home will follow suit.