January 19, 2001, 12:00 AM

Save Those E-Receipts

Don Davis

Editor in Chief

ARTS, the Association for Retail Technology Standards of the National Retail Federation has formally accepted a proposed XML-based standard for delivering receipts over the Internet. An innovation that will soon bring proof of purchase to PCs, the digital receipt is the product of the Digital Receipt Alliance, formed and led by NCR Corp., Dayton, Ohio.

Other founding members of the DRA include America Online; Microsoft; (www.officedepot.com) Office Depot; ValiCert, Inc. formerly known as Receipt.com; RCS; and VeriFone, a division of Hewlett Packard Co. Other parties, including a leading payment card association and a leading personal software company, have expressed interest in the alliance, the group says. Shop.org, a trade association of online retailers, has agreed to review the proposed standard, says DRA.

The digital receipt is an Internet version of the traditional paper receipt, and it can be delivered via e-mail or to a Web site database. Deliverable for in- store and online purchases, digital receipts can also allow purchase data to be downloaded into personal finance, tax or accounting applications. Digital receipt technology enables retailers and consumers to have greater interaction, and it also enables retailers to narrow the flow of information to suit the profile of each customer.

For example, says DRA, it can provide a "one-to-on" marketing communications medium that can be customized for the recipient; be used as an opt-in tool whereby the consumer chooses to participate voluntarily and selects the information to be delivered from the retailer; deliver promotions and offers with a "significantly higher" response rate; and send a link to an Internet application along with the receipt to automate manual tasks such as rebates and warranty registrations.

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