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Holidays go digital at the cash register, too

By Alicia Inns
Published On: Dec 06 2012 07:43:53 PM CST
Updated On: Dec 06 2012 07:57:24 PM CST

NewsChannel 21's Alicia Inns looks at a growing trend to e-mail receipts from Central Oregon stores, rather than a paper receipt.

BEND, Ore. -

Inside Lone Pine Coffee Shop in downtown Bend, there is tea, coffee beans and ... an iPad.

"It's a little cheaper, more simple for us, the whole process," owner Scott Witham explained Thursday.

Using the Square app, with the swipe of your card and a few taps on the screen, you can tip, sign and have your receipt emailed or texted to you within seconds.

The simplicity is not only appealing to business owners like Witham, it's also saving money.

"That was the reason we did it -- the rate was cheaper, the merchant services was cheaper. Simpler and cheaper for us," Witham said.

Apple's already been offering digital receipts for quite some time. But this holiday season, more local stores than ever before like Crows Feet Commons, The Dough Nut and Crux Fermentation Project, to name a few, are offering online receipts.

"It's nice -- it's handy," said one Bend resident.

"It's simple and it's fast, and we're always on computers, so I can print out my own receipt," said another Bend resident.

High-tech consumers seem to be pleased with the idea of not having to keep track of all the paper copies. But the big-box retail stores could also use that email address for other reasons.
  
"It's faster, less paper, get it out of the way, plus the store gets its data file to send to the new consumer," said Steven Osinski, a marketing professor at San Diego State.  

Sending an email is also giving some stores like Macy's and Nordstrom the opportunity to send extra ads and promotions straight to your inbox. So be sure to ask if you can opt out of that option.

Consumer experts say it doesn't mean the paper receipt will go away completely. It just means you might have to adapt.

"Out of 100 transactions a day, we only give out about five paper receipts. People like it. It gives them options," Witham said.

If you're worried about the safety of your online receipt, consumer experts say, it's just like purchasing something online -- it's at your own risk.

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