Email address collection at the point of sale is advantageous to consumers and business marketers alike.

Not only can you promptly send electronic receipts to your customers (simultaneously saving paper and spreading goodwill), point of sale collection helps to grow your email marketing list. As mutually beneficial as point of sale email collection may be, you’ll want to take care to avoid spamming your customers. Use the best practices listed below for responsible point of sale email collection.

Integrate Your POS Software with an Email Marketing Service

Your point of sale software may support one or more email marketing integrations, allowing you to build your list directly within your point of sale software. For example, ShopKeep automatically syncs with MailChimp, saving time and increasing email marketing efficiency. When you add the customer’s email address to your point of sale (POS) software, that email address is automatically added to your MailChimp list.

Set Expectations

Do you intend to use POS email address collection solely for transactional purposes (such as sending receipts) or do you plan on sending marketing messages as well? A common rookie mistake is assuming that a customer who opts in to receive an electronic receipt is also opting in to receive marketing messages. Make sure to communicate your intentions to your customers so that they understand that you will send only the receipt or that you’ll send the receipt along with occasional special offers, coupons, newsletters, and so forth. Setting expectations is important because you do not want to spam your customers. They will be far more tolerant of receiving your marketing emails if they’re expecting and looking forward to them. If they don’t want to receive emails, no matter how much they love your shop, respect that. Setting expectations during point of sale collection falls on the shoulders of your cashiers. Train your employees on the appropriate point of sale email collection procedures so that they can effectively communicate to the customers the benefits of opting in, while also setting expectations, and confirming the customer’s email address.

Give Customers a Way to Opt In

Using signs at the point of sale can also be effective in communicating your point of sale email address collection policy and its benefits. For example, a simple sign saying, “Sign up for electronic receipts and exclusive discounts via email today” could have your customers asking your cashier to sign them up rather than the other way around — and they’ll be expecting both transactional and marketing messages. Another option is to maintain two lists. Use point of sale email collection to establish your transactional list and then use your transactional emails to entice customers to opt into your email marketing list. For example, you could include an irresistible offer at the bottom of each receipt, prompting customers to opt-in to receive a discount on their next purchase.

Give Customers a Way to Opt Out

If you’d rather use a single list for both transactional and marketing messages, and you’ve set customer expectations accordingly, make sure to include an easy way for customers to opt out. An unsubscribe link is essential in any type of email marketing. If you are getting an excessively high number of opt-outs, there’s a disconnect between what your customers are expecting and what they’re receiving. This is your signal to reevaluate how you’re setting expectations during the point of sale email collection process as well as whether or not you’re living up to your end of the bargain.

SEE ALSO: List Building Software for Retail: The Dos and Don’ts, Explained

If tackling email address collection all at once sounds overwhelming, take a step back. It doesn’t have to be done all at once. Small incremental changes in how you approach your address collection is all you need to see significant results over time.

Yamarie Grullon

Yamarie Grullon has years of experience creating helpful & engaging content for small business owners. As Director of Content Strategy at ShopKeep, a leading iPad Point of Sale System, Yamarie provides merchants with practical advice on all things related to business or point of sale.