Comfortable and sustainable

What are digital receipts?

Each of us is probably familiar with paper-based receipts, such as those from grocery stores, from the last visit to the swimming pool, or even from the self-service ordering terminal at McDonald’s (2 receipts are often issued for a single order transaction). Unlike such “analog” receipts, the digital receipt is not printed and is thus often an environmentally friendly and sustainable alternative. The importance of such alternatives e.g. from an ecological point of view has been steadily increasing for years. After all, in Germany alone, well over 2 million kilometers of cash register receipts are printed each year. Whereas in the past this was due to a lack of alternatives, today it is mandatory for the retailer to print the receipt due to legal requirements such as the obligation to issue receipts, even if the customer does not want the receipt to be handed over.

Sustainable Benefits

Printing is usually done on thermal paper, the production of which releases a large number of chemicals into the natural cycle and which are suspected of being hazardous to health (e.g. Bisphenol A). However, the biggest disadvantage of the paper-based receipt is probably more the fact that trees have to be cut down to produce the required paper base. This is neither environmentally friendly nor sustainable; but fortunately there are digital alternatives. For some time now, these have been finding their way into retail in a variety of forms, and customer acceptance of and demand for such solutions is also on the rise. Digital receipts make the purchasing process easier for the customer, strengthen the digital customer relationship from the retailer’s point of view, and even speed up the checkout process in some cases.  Now, if you want to know more about the concrete benefits of voice assistants and their added value for your everyday life, check out the full post. Now if you want to know more about digital receipts and learn their added value for you, check out the full post.

The story

While digital receipts in the early days came in the form of static PDF files sent by email, they have finally arrived in a contemporary and native form on smartphones in the form of apps from various providers. The choice ranges from simple receipt capture to sophisticated solutions that allow you to view your digital receipts, possible cashback offers and coupons, and manage your household ledger better and easier like e.g. with wunderbon | secure data platform.

How do digital receipts work?

There is a manageable number of solutions on the market, which are based on very different approaches. There are solutions that present a QR code on the display of the POS system, which is scanned on the customer’s side in order to receive the receipt, while others rely on a reverse process in which a QR code is scanned from the display of the customer’s smartphone. In addition to these approaches, there is also a method in which the receipt is delivered in PDF format after the e-mail address is entered (e.g. in use at Uniqlo). The email address is entered on the customer side, and this is done again for each purchase. This is not practical – fortunately, however, there are also far more advanced and customer-friendly solutions such as wunderbon. 

With wunderbon it is possible to receive the receipt almost without any action. At least for non-cash payment transactions. Only if cash is paid, an additional interaction is necessary. In order to better understand these fundamental differences between the solutions, we should perhaps take a closer look at the rough sequence of the approaches described above:

Capture the email address at the POS

During the payment process, the cashier asks whether the customer wants a paper receipt, a digital receipt, or both (sometimes the query is also made, for example, via a display facing the customer).

If a digital receipt is desired, the email address is recorded by the person at the cash register or entered by the person. Subsequently, the receipt will be sent as an attachment in PDF format to the previously entered e-mail address.

QR code scanning from POS (shopper scans)

During the payment process, the cashier asks whether the customer wants a paper receipt, a digital receipt, or both (sometimes the query is also made, for example, via a display facing the customer).

If a digital receipt is desired, a QR code must now be scanned with a QR code-enabled app and the stored action performed. This is usually the download of a PDF or graphic file (JPG, PNG).

QR code scan from smartphone (merchant scans)

During the payment process, the cashier asks whether the customer wants a paper receipt, a digital receipt, or both (sometimes the query is also made, for example, via a display facing the customer).

If a digital receipt is required, the person at the checkout now scans a QR code from the display of the customer’s smartphone and subsequently sends the receipt as an attachment by e-mail.

Quite simply via wunderbon app

During the payment process, a payment method previously linked to wunderbon is used and the receipt is immediately delivered to the smartphone in the wunderbon app and additionally announced via push notification.

Nothing more is necessary – only in the case of cash payment, a QR code must be scanned from the wunderbon app to receive the digital receipt – the way of delivery and announcement remains as practical as previously described.

Advantages of digital receipts

Reduce costs with digital receipts

Paper-based receipts cost retailers millions each year. Digital receipts are far less expensive because, most importantly, no printing is required. In this way, they reduce operating costs and are a clear sign of sustainable action.

Another communication channel

The latest digital receipt technology enables retailers to place individual marketing messages in their receipts and thus create immediate added value; e.g. in the form of individual discounts or cashback promotions. However, dynamic content is conceivable that is tailored to the individual customer and thus of the highest relevance (this is not perceived as disruptive). For example, the receipt could include recommendations for items that go well with the item just purchased, or present related items that are only available online.

Shopping cart feedback

Digital checkout receipts are an important building block in a healthy and timely omnichannel strategy; insights from customer-retailer interactions can improve the customer shopping experience, and dedicated shopping cart-related customer feedback enables insights that have not been available in this form before. As a result, higher customer satisfaction, greater loyalty and more recommendations beckon.

Customer service through added value

Customer demand for digital receipts is growing steadily; certainly because they are convenient to use, do not fade unlike paper receipts, and are easy to store, but also because the data is often used for budget books and budget monitoring. Being able to keep an eye on one’s own budget or budgets (e.g. for the family) is a very important feature for wunderbon users. Retailers that meet this demand usually speed up the payment and thus the entire checkout process. Depending on the throughput at the points of sale, this results in not inconsiderable time and thus cost savings.


Lastly, it should be mentioned that depending on the solution used, anti-counterfeiting is guaranteed. With good systems, manipulation is not possible either by the customer or by the retailer. The system for the transmission acts similar to a digital notary public; this, among many others, is a particular strength of wunderbon.

Provision of digital cash receipts

Retail businesses and other enterprises will find a number of digital receipt solution providers when they do their research. Depending on the process, there are sometimes more, sometimes less. The question to ask yourself as a retailer is “What value do I want to add to my customers?” Or, “Which solution benefits both sides equally?” Because this already significantly reduces the number of solutions. If you are looking for a mature and, above all, open (API) and highly scalable solution that meets all legal requirements and can also be connected extremely cost-effectively, then you should refer to wunderbon at this point. On our website you will find further information and also the possibility to contact us directly. wunderbon not only basically works with almost any POS system, but also offers anti-counterfeiting and a variety of sophisticated features for the customer (product recall, warranty reminder, personal assistant, etc.).

Not only relevant for retailers

The benefits of digital point-of-sale receipts are not just reserved for retailers. Companies that sell subscriptions (e.g. also subscriptions) – such as energy companies and insurance companies – can also take advantage of the benefits. Instead of a digital receipt, businesses with recurring payments can send a digital payment request that automatically becomes a digital receipt after a successful payment. In addition to this option, there are numerous others.