Why CVS receipts are so long
CVS receipts are “known to be longer than anyone in the industry,” said Craig Rosenblum, vice president of Inmar Intelligence, which advises companies on marketing strategies. “We see printed receipts as another great way to connect in-store with shoppers.”
The Strategy Behind CVS Receipts
Why are they so long? Blame CVS’s ExtraCare loyalty program.
When an ExtraCare card member pays for purchases at a store, personalized rewards, coupons, new product suggestions, and other benefits appear at the bottom of the receipt.
No customer gets the exact same savings and offers, a CVS spokesperson said, because they’re tailored based on customers’ past purchases or other inputs — for example, a coupon for allergy products if the pollen count is high in this customer’s area.
This onboarding strategy is a way to communicate the value of being an ExtraCare member to customers, said Deidre Popovich, an assistant professor of marketing at Texas Tech University who studies consumer psychology. CVS “tries to remind them to take advantage of their loyalty program benefits and encourage them to make return purchases in the near future,” she said.
About 25 years ago, CVS shifted its focus from promoting mass marketing in weekly print flyers, newspapers, and directly to customers’ homes. CVS launched the ExtraCare card loyalty program in 2001 and shifted to offering personalized rewards, coupons and other benefits to members when customers paid for their items, said Rob Price, chief marketing officer of CVS. from 2006 to 2014.
CVS was one of the first national retailers to make such a change, which meant printing fewer flyers and pages, and adding more offers to its receipts.
“Before it became a meme and before it became a cliché, this was really big news,” Price said. “The offers were adapted to [customers], which was very avant-garde and very little known to people. There was a gamification aspect before gamification was cool. People liked to feel like they had won something, to feel like they had scored.”
Long receipts with tailored rewards helped CVS attract more frequent customer visits than the chain had seen with weekly flyers for key items such as health and beauty and groceries, Price said. . And having an expiration date on coupons created a sense of urgency to redeem them.
Price said he and other CVS executives never believed that meme culture and satire around the length of receipts meant the company had to end the tactic. Instead, they forced CVS to improve rewards and target them more specifically to each customer’s buying preferences.
And he continues to shop at CVS. “I always choose to get the receipt because I think it’s fun.”
“The small size of paper receipts does not reflect the unnecessary environmental and health risks they entail,” the report said. Each year in the United States, paper receipts consume more than 3 million trees, 9 billion gallons of water and 4 billion pounds of carbon dioxide – the same greenhouse gas emissions as driving more than 450,000 cars each year, according to Green America.
CVS employees say that while customers often complain about the length of receipts while waiting at checkout, they rarely sign up to upgrade to digital receipts sent to their emails in stores or on their CVS app. .
Only about 10% of the approximately 75 million ExtraCare members have switched to digital receipts. (A CVS spokesperson said the company is “exploring ways” to increase the growth of digital receipts this year, including giving customers the option to choose the type they want each time they pass. at the register.)
Popovich, the Texas Tech marketing professor, said that since printed receipts are the default option, most customers have “status quo bias” and won’t go the extra mile to switch to the option. digital.
“We are YouTube stars when it comes to our receipts,” said a CVS store employee in San Jose, Calif., who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the media. .
Customers may complain about the length of their receipts, the employee added, but “as soon as those $10 or $3 [coupon] spit, they are there to redeem it.”