Consumers, with the help of tech companies, are transforming their personal blizzard of missing receipts, misplaced coupons, lost promotional alerts and unused gift cards into digital files stored in the cloud.
"People have rubber bands around receipts, around promotions, around coupons, and things are in complete disarray," said Peter Jackson, chief executive officer with Orinda, Calif.-based Ziploop, which offers consumers a digital alternative to retail activities on paper. "The big gap in technology is an effective mobile application that helps us manage our retail transactions."
Through the Ziploop system, a shopper can use a smartphone to snap a picture of a paper or plastic retail item. The key information from the gift card, receipt, coupon or promotional item is then uploaded to Ziploop, which stores the data in the shopper's personal retail file in the cloud. Ziploop launched its beta in July, an Apple iPhone application in September and a Google Android phone app in October.
Ziploop and other companies such as San Francisco-based Gyft, Palo Alto, Calif.-based Lemon Wallet and New York City-based OneReceipt are tackling an array of ways to digitally organize their shopping documents. Consumers can use Ziploop, OneReceipt, Lemon Wallet and Gyft for free.
"I use it all the time and I absolutely love it," Orinda resident Mollie Ricksen said of Ziploop. "The other day I ordered something online and it went to my Yahoo email. I took that email confirmation of the purchase and forwarded it to my Ziploop account. There it was. All the information was there, including the store it came from."
Ricksen said she also finds the photo-taking side of the service easy to use.
"Everything is on my phone," Ricksen said. "The advertisements, the receipts, the promotions. I use it to make returns."
Ziploop and some other services can also alert people through their smartphones that they have an unused gift card, coupon, promotion or rewards program when they are physically in or near a particular store. The various services meld nicely with stores' efforts to reduce paper transactions.
"More retailers are moving their point-of-sale receipt system from cash registers to email," Jackson said.
But delivering receipts by email can create a pile of messages in a consumer's inbox. With Ziploop, for example, a consumer can automatically store and organize the email receipt, coupon or promotional item by simply giving the retailer their dedicated Ziploop email address or forwarding messages from their personal email to Ziploop.
People also can use Ziploop to look up a promotional item, receipt, or coupon by date, store name, or even the type of merchandise, such as a toy or clothing style. (continued...)
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