RealTime IT News

ARTS Accepts XML Standard for Digital Receipts

The Association for Retail Technology Standards (ARTS) of the National Retail Federation formally accepted a proposed XML-based standard for delivering receipts over the Internet.

Designed to bring proof of purchase to consumers' PCs, the new Digital Receipt is a product of the Digital Receipt Alliance, which was formed and led by NCR Corp. Other founding members of the alliance include America Online, Microsoft; Office Depot; ValiCert Inc. (formerly known as Receipt.com); RCS and VeriFone.

Shop.org, the trade association of online retailers, has agreed to review the proposed standard.

"ARTS supports the Digital Receipt Alliance, and believes that this collaborative approach is neutral and in the best interest of the retail community," said Richard Mader, executive director of ARTS.

"Similarly, ARTS believes that a standard electronic receipt will be great for e-commerce and may be the best choice for some consumers making in store purchases."

The receipt is an Internet version of traditional paper receipts, and can be delivered via e-mail or to a Web site database. Deliverable for both in- store and online purchases, Digital Receipts can also allow purchase data to be downloaded into personal finance, tax or accounting applications.

The Digital Receipt technology, according to ARTS, also can:

  • provide a "one-to-one" marketing communications medium that can be customized for the recipient
  • be used as an opt-in tool (i.e. the consumer chooses to participate voluntarily and selects the information to be delivered from the retailer)
  • be used to deliver promotions and offers
  • send a link to an Internet application along with the receipt to automate manual tasks such as rebates, warranty registrations, etc

Small businesses also will benefit from the availability of a Digital Receipt, ARTS said. Most small business transactions are similar to a consumer transaction where the owner or a key employee records the purchase in a checkbook and files the receipt.

With the availability of the Digital Receipt, the small business owner can receive the proof of purchase data via e-mail or by downloading from a Web site and import the transactions directly into small business accounting and tax applications.

The latest proposed standards document and white papers published by the members of the Digital Receipt Alliance are available here.