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MANTECA — A technological revolution is slowly taking place in retail marketing and the Central Valley may play a big role in that change. Manteca-based Retail Green has developed a new platform for businesses to produce electronic receipts for customers.
“There is nothing like this on the market right now,” said Ayman Sulaiman, who co-founded Retail Green in 2009.
The company has developed what Sulaiman said is a non-intrusive platform that produces receipts for retail sales without ever producing a hard copy receipt. The company has signed its biggest contract to date with the emirate of Dubai.
Under the deal, which Sulaiman said could be worth up to $150 million, the country will mandate that retailers use the platform starting next year. The company is also beginning construction on a data hub to service the contract that could bring up to 10 new high-tech workers to Manteca in the next year.
“I have a daughter at the University of the Pacific,” said Sulaiman. “I wanted to create jobs here for our kids. We need to create jobs for our kids to stay local.”
With this software, customers get a receipt sent to their smart phone through an app called Receipt Box which is available on Andorid and iPhones. The system also saves a copy in the cloud service.
Retailers as diverse as Whole Foods Market, Nordstrom, Gap Inc., Anthropologie, Patagonia, Sears and Kmart have begun offering electronic versions of receipts, either e-mailed or uploaded to password-protected websites.
Sulaiman said the biggest advantage of Retail Green’s platform is that all of those receipts would arrive in the same format if the retailers used his platform. He said that would make it easier to take records from a variety of retailers or vendors and use them with anything from bookkeeping to inventory analysis.
“Before, you might go to a department store or electronic store and get receipts that were in different formats that couldn’t be used by your accountant or software,” said Sulaiman. “With our system every receipt that comes from someone using our system will be in the exact same format.”
It only works with retailers that use the Retail Green system however. It is Sulaiman’s hope that his platform will become the industry standard for e-receipts, similar to the way Blue Ray is the standard for high-definition videos.
“We have had a lot of interest from malls that are looking at our system,” said Sulaiman. “A big plus for us is that our system is completely non-intrusive and doesn’t invade a company’s database in any way.”
While customers get a uniformity in their receipts, retailers can also use the platform to get nearly instant analysis of sale trends of their products, Sulaiman said.
“If Miley Cyrus wears something and that suddenly becomes a trend, our software will let a retailer know that there was a big bump in sales of that item instantly,” said Sulaiman.
The trend analysis feature, combined with the elimination of paper receipts were big selling points for Dubai.
“That part of the world has become very environmentally conscious,” said Sulaiman.
The industry looks to have significant growth potential. As the use of cellphones for payment using services like google wallet, e-receipts will become more the norm.
Beyond saving money and an estimated 9.6 million trees that are cut each year for receipts in the United States according to digital receipt company allEtronic, the e-receipts present marketing opportunities for retailers. Gap, Nordstrom and many other stores, for example, add the customer’s e-mail address to a mailing list for follow-up offers.
“As consumers, we’re changing the way we shop,” Jennifer Miles, who oversees retail systems at VeriFone, which makes checkout technology, said in a recent New York Times article. “Customers are starting to want electronic receipts.”