Frequently, adopting new technologies for your business can be intimidating. Learning to use new software is a challenge, and innovations sometimes impact productivity. This is because employees take time to become familiar and adapt to new systems. For hundreds of years, we have relied on the use of paper to handle businesses, whether in offices or retail stores. However, in the last decade, more and more, businesses have decided to reduce the use of paper, and some have even chosen to eliminate it altogether.
Many reasons can motivate a business to replace the use of paper in its processes, besides the obvious implications for the environment. Today’s buyers know the internet and spend most of their lives in front of computers, tablets and smartphones (approximately 8 hours and 41 minutes a day, according to estimates from a study), and seek efficiency. So, they choose to spend their money on optimized and personalized experiences. Regarding the points of sale, they always favour the use of credit and debit cards over cash or checks. The last thing a customer wants is another paper receipt packed in their wallet.
Therefore, it is time for retailers to update, and the good news is that stopping paper can be relatively simple for most businesses. In this article, we explain some reasons why it is worth reducing the amount of paper you use in your business.
Let us begin!
Reasons To Stop Using Paper Receipts
We already mentioned the most obvious reason to abandon the paper: the environmental factor. Eliminating paper receipts in addition to significantly reducing the carbon footprint of a business, also ensures that they do not end up in the trash, thus generating more solid waste. Ecology can be good publicity to improve the image of a company, but it may not be enough incentive to make the change. Therefore, we present other additional reasons to abandon paper receipts.
Makes Taxation A Piece Of Cake
One of the primary reasons for binning paper receipts is HMRC’s MTD or Making Tax Digital. It allows you to track as well as submit all your expenses for the purpose of taxes electronically. Hence, simply by using MTD and eliminating paper, you can get rid of all those bank boxes and folders that have been gathering dust in the corner of your office. MTD affects businesses that are registered with VAT with an annual turnover of over £85,000. This is a great idea for businesses as you can keep an electronic record of your taxes and submit VAT returns digitally. Eventually, all businesses will be required to do the same, and the first step is to digitise all those slips of paper. Cloud accounting systems like Nomisma Solution and Xero make that relatively easy.
Who has not had to review and rummage through a box or file cabinet looking for a simple sheet of paper, an invoice, an employee’s time sheet or an inventory list? Regardless of the document, having to check batteries and paper stacks can be an enormous waste of time. According to a study, reviewing and searching for papers can consume up to 30% of an employee’s work time. Stopping the usage of paper allows you to be more efficient, and efficiency translates into money. As a small business, you can differentiate yourself from the rest if you offer quick answers to your customers, so being efficient and replacing paper with digital processes can help you excel.
Making sure that most of the documents in your business are digital also makes the search process much easier. This is because instead of having to delve into an archivist or box to locate a document, just a quick search on the computer is enough. In fact, if you opt for cloud storage, you can access these documents from any place and device, in addition to automatic backups of the documents. So, losing important files is a thing of the past. You can use tools as simple (and free) as Google Drive or DropBox to store documents online, or you can choose a slightly more robust solution like LiveDrive.
Offering digital receipts to buyers allows businesses to have direct access to their customers. Online receipts allow businesses to obtain customer emails. An email address can be worth hundreds of dollars for a retailer. Email addresses allow retailers to send newsletters, notifications about promotions, discounts and the replenishment of inventory, as well as help in maintaining conversation and interaction after the first sale. Additionally, many retailers add links to the websites and social media accounts of their businesses, which contributes to increased online awareness about their brand.
Replacing paper with digital processes can help you manage your business more efficiently, and thus, reduce the time you and your staff spend reviewing inventory lists, filing cabinets, invoices and schedules. Offering receipts via email can also help you save money, eliminate unnecessary waste and stay in tune with the needs of your digital enthusiast customers. Most importantly, it is about modernizing your business and knowing all the benefits that can be obtained, thanks to new technologies and digitalisation.
So, when are you embracing e-receipts for your business?