Email Receipts: Are You Missing This Free Marketing Gem?

By Malissa Diener CA, MMT

Every time someone makes a purchase from your business they should get an email receipt. Even if you deal in cash—you know that green paper stuff no one ever has? You should have an automatic receipt template set up to send after the service is over.

I do mine in the evening after all the grooming is finished. I collect email addresses from every customer I service. If you have a credit card/debit card payment system, chances are there is a way to set up email receipts, and also a way to customize your receipts.

It’s an amazing way to connect with your customers—but it’s often overlooked as a marketing opportunity. More than likely, you’re missing out on additional sales because of that.

This article is all about how you can use something as simple as an email receipt template as a part of your marketing strategy to win additional sales and stay connected with your customers.

If you know anything about me, you know I love anything cheap and easy. I am no computer–wiz. I work as a house call groomer and try to keep my marketing expenses as low as possible. I want my customers to propel my services for me and the technology I use to assist me as well.

With an open rate of 70.90%, compared to the average 17.19% for regular email marketing campaigns, email receipts are a potential marketing gold mine, and it’s important that you treat them that way.

It’s important to remember that when a customer completes a checkout with you, their trust is already gained. They are already committed to your services and your business. This is an enormous gift; you literally have that customer in the palm of your hand. Now what you do with them after that is up to you. You can let them forget all about you afterwards or you can take that gift and make it keep giving to your business. By sending a receipt via email, you are continuing that relationship past the “see ya next time” parting comment.

You can use that moment when a customer opens their email to do a
few things:

  • Upsell related products and services
  • Offer a discount code to encourage a future booking (if they haven’t already pre–booked)
  • Set up a feedback loop to better understand your customers and your checkout flow
  • Promote your social media accounts
  • Let customers share their experience on Facebook
  • Promote review publishing by listing your review site direct links with incentives for publishing reviews on your services
  • Share photos of their pet
  • Advertise specials for VIP customers

It might not seem obvious, but companies have been using email receipts as a part of their marketing strategy for a while now. Even companies outside of the pet business space.

Take a look at an email receipt that you may have received from any recent business transaction you have conducted. See if you can glean any inspiration from those companies. They are marketing to you, and not subtly, within that email.

Still not convinced these are powerful? Here’s what Uber has to say about their customer acquisition and marketing strategy; “Uber spends virtually zero dollars on marketing, spreading almost exclusively via word of mouth. Our virality is almost unprecedented. For every 7 rides we do, our users’ big mouths generate a new rider.”

This is BRILLIANT marketing at its finest. Uber offers things like:

  • Letting you rate your experience
  • Being able to provide immediate feedback on your “purchase”
  • Offer a referral bonus for sharing with friends
  • Include a valuable and fun insight into their “product” (travel) using Google Maps

All on one digital receipt. Seems so simple. Simple is often over looked. Again, like I said, cheap and easy. You already have the email program in place, you already have a payment system in place, now utilize them to your advantage and take the time to cater to your customers.

Some big players in the commerce industry have already been doing this for a while. For example, as far back as 2006, Amazon reported that 35% of its revenue was a direct result of its cross sales and up–selling efforts. That’s mostly through email receipts. You know that little box at the bottom of your receipt that has the “You might also enjoy these products”? Well how many of you have looked at that and said, “oh yeah, I need that too!”?

Try incorporating some product up–selling in your email receipt template to see if there is an increase in appointments.

Here are some examples of other ways that you can use this idea in email receipts:

  • Add the option to book a new appointment
  • Sell related products or accessories such as supplements or treats —the ideas are endless
  • Offer the option to buy it for a friend or offer gift certificates

By offering a discount code in your receipt email you’re offering an incentive for the customer to come back and make another purchase. You can even take that one step further and say, “This is only for our VIP customers”, letting them get that warm and fuzzy emotional feeling that they are important to you. Which they are, otherwise you wouldn’t be in business!

A study shows that 44% of email recipients made at least one purchase last year based on a promotional email that included a coupon code. In our business, I can attest that I have a better success rate rebooking appointments via my email receipt marketing than when I ask face to face. Most of the time people are in a more relaxed state when reading through emails, resulting in them being able to make a decision at their leisure.

Even if the discount is something as small as 5% off, $1 off their next order or a free service upgrade; savings is savings—and in the mind of a customer, any savings is good.

As a service industry, groomers tend to look unfavorably at coupons. However, used properly they can enhance your business substantially. Remember, they are going out to customers who have already purchased your services—you are not appealing to someone new, you are just giving those that already bought into your program more to brag about!

More to consider about coupons as a promotional tool is that they have multiple uses. You can use them to track sales for online and offline marketing campaigns, or offer time–sensitive discounts to incentivize another purchase. Coupons can also be included on your physical retail receipts.

Many business studies show that more than two–thirds of business leaders plan to integrate social media within their email marketing efforts. So why aren’t you?

Simply include links to your social accounts in either the footer or in a content card on your email receipt template. If you don’t have separate accounts for your personal and business social media, NOW is the time to get those up and running.

While it is fairly simple to use a receipt email, there are other opportunities with social media as well. Some ideas are:

  • Share with 10 friends and get 10% off your next groom when they book and complete an appointment (They must give your name or code to build your referral).
  • Every time you refer a friend, you get a free upgraded service.
  • Every time you mention/tag us on social media, you get an upgraded service or a percentage off.

These are just ideas for you to build on. As pet groomers we need a steady stream of regular and new customers to keep us earning. Each year we lose about 25% of our business due to life changes like moving, death, don’t have pets anymore, etc. We need to actively be recruiting new clientele all the time.

You can get immediate, valuable feedback from paying customers using email receipts. Retail stores and restaurants have been doing this for a long time. Often they’ll include a contest entry by completing a feedback survey. You can do the same for your business. This will give you some insight into the purchasing flow for your business, as well as any pain points a customer may have experienced while utilizing your services. People are more apt to say something on a survey or review than face to face. Take advantage of that by using these tools.

Here are some questions that might be worth including to get some feedback from your customers:

  • How did they feel about the overall experience?
  • Did they feel the service was priced fairly?
  • How did they find your services?
  • What can you improve about your services?
  • How can you improve your check in/checkout flow?

Using email receipts, you can take advantage of that brief moment when dopamine is released into the brain. Try to encourage customers to share their experience on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and more social media sites by tagging your business when they’re still feeling excited and have a “shopping high”.

Why is it important to make it easily sharable? Because customers who have been referred by their friends spend an average of 13.4% more. Having your business social media links easily accessible in your email receipt is paramount to building new customers.

Email is an easy, accessible way for you to help build your business, retain the customers you do have and expand your brand through customer loyalty promotions. This is an easy and inexpensive element to incorporate into your business marketing plan. This is also a great way to promote your online presence through social media interactions from your customers.

In this day and age, we as a collective industry, need to set ourselves apart from every other grooming business. By being imaginative with our marketing plans, we don’t have to spend a lot of money to actually make more money. It does take time. That is the key. You have to invest in yourself in order to make your business grow. Now get out there and start that email receipt marketing campaign! 

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