paint-brush
"Stick 'Em Up! Give Me All Your Receipts!" - Why Everyone Wants Your Receipt Databy@shanefaria
421 reads
421 reads

"Stick 'Em Up! Give Me All Your Receipts!" - Why Everyone Wants Your Receipt Data

by Shane FariaJune 28th, 2023
Read on Terminal Reader
Read this story w/o Javascript

Too Long; Didn't Read

In the pre-digital era, SKU-level receipt data primarily served as a tool for traditional retail businesses to track sales, inventory, and financial transactions. As consumers spend more time shopping online and as smaller merchants gain footholds on platforms like WooCommerce, Shopify, Etsy and more, the potential volume of available receipt data will extend beyond just scanned paper receipts, and businesses are valuing them more than ever.
featured image - "Stick 'Em Up! Give Me All Your Receipts!" - Why Everyone Wants Your Receipt Data
Shane Faria HackerNoon profile picture

In my world, “Everything Runs on Data,” which says a lot being someone who grew up in a town with approximately 17 Dunkin’ Donuts franchises.


More specifically, everything runs on zero-party data, aka data that has been willingly provided by a consumer with the expectation of receiving something of benefit in return. Even more specifically, lately, it has run on zero-party receipt data.


But let's indulge in a fanciful scenario that keeps replaying in my mind. Imagine a shop heist, not the clichéd demand for "all your money," but an audacious robber demanding "all your receipts." It's a venture tailor-made for the most enterprising of criminals.


Now, I know this vision sounds utterly preposterous, yet it compelled me to ponder whether absconding with a store's receipts could actually prove to be a shrewd long-term decision, surpassing the allure of an instant cash haul.


You see,


*adjusts nonexistent tie*


In my line of work, there's been an overwhelming appetite for purchasing SKU-level data. People often express sentiments like, "If you can provide me with XYZ receipt data, I'm ready to make a deal." Naturally, this piqued our curiosity, pushing us to explore the quest for obtaining this coveted data (of which we are making notable progress). But that's a tale for another occasion.



For now, let's address the question at hand: What makes receipt data so astoundingly valuable? It's the kind of query that may not cross your mind until circumstances force you to contemplate it. Nevertheless, once you delve into the matter, the true value of receipt data becomes astonishingly apparent.


In the pre-digital era, SKU-level receipt data primarily served as a tool for traditional retail businesses to track sales, inventory, and financial transactions. It provided valuable information about product popularity, pricing strategies, and stock management. However, the data was often limited to physical stores and lacked the granularity required to uncover detailed consumer behavior patterns.


Over time, SKU-level receipt data has become increasingly valuable in the realm of e-commerce. It provides deep insights into customer preferences, market trends, and business performance. Once limited to tracking sales and inventory, this data now empowers businesses to customize offerings, make agile decisions, and enhance customer satisfaction. Integration with other data sources creates a comprehensive view of customer interactions, giving businesses a competitive advantage. And as we know, businesses are very much in the business of gaining competitive advantages.


And this data is of tremendous value to other businesses. Hence why many of the businesses we have spoken to are looking for receipt data, especially receipt data that is collected ethically. Everybody knows privacy is the name of the game in 2023, so if you’re going to build up an arsenal of data, it’s probably a good bet to ensure you’re getting reliable (and legal) data.


For that reason, the store robbery scenario maybe isn’t the best one. But it might be the funniest one, at least to me. Regardless, it is important to consider that in the era of privacy, the desire to source SKU-level receipt data from other businesses or aggregators is fortified by the willingness of the consumer to opt-in to allowing the re-sale of their data.


As consumers spend more time shopping online and as smaller merchants gain footholds on platforms like WooCommerce, Shopify, Etsy, and more, the potential volume of available receipt data will extend well beyond just scanned paper receipts. The emphasis on digital shopping and email receipts allows for more avenues to attribution, solidifying the journey from discovery to purpose.


For now, it seems as if any road that leads to granular data on purchasing patterns is of value to businesses and market researchers, especially SKU-level data, which is vastly more specific than any financial institution data. With an increased desire for consumers to share zero-party data for perks and benefits, robust consumer profiles (that can still maintain anonymity) are being built. Desire exists for all players, and a symbiotic marketplace dynamic is set to emerge.


That’s what I’m working on, anyway. At least when I’m not envisioning this receipt robbery scenario.


Imagine explaining that one to the cops…