The Receipt As An App

When you look at a business’ strategic goals, engaging with your customers and providing a better experience for them overall should come across as some of the most important ones.

Let’s look at the near future where media will travel freely onto surfaces in our daily lives. A world of media that speaks more often and more quietly. It’s already happening here in Kenya -- the mobile money hub of the world -- where people are interacting more frequently with their devices. We use M-PESA to pay for our TV subscriptions, our electricity bills, our grocery bills, our coffee.

When I talk about media, what do I mean? Well, media here includes anything from messages from your friends on Facebook to more functional messages from brands, such as receipts.

I’ve always been fascinated by receipt design. It’s the one thing that every customer feels, looks at and interacts with at a business, and it’s the most neglected of surfaces. Why can’t we just design a better receipt, one which customers better interact with? Why can’t we see the receipt as an app?

Receipts are highly flexible, context-sensitive, connected surfaces, [and super quick to say a video ad]. Why can’t businesses invest more into engaging with their customers in this possibly simpler way?

The great thing about being in Kenya is that the mobile receipt is becoming more commonplace. You pay for your meal with M-PESA and you get a receipt. However, we forget to engage our customer further. There’s a ripe opportunity to, for example, gather customer feedback.

Why aren’t we doing this? The obvious answer would be that no one’s thought of it right (I’m sure someone somewhere has — I’d love to hear if anyone has).

Update: We’re now doing this at Java House. Try it when you next pay with M-PESA at any of our locations. Hundreds of thousands of people have now given us feedback through this one single channel.