Online Stores Ready for a Facelift

When you think about it, online shopping is a pretty new development. Just a few short years ago, even the most internet-savvy consumer would have been hesitant about buying anything other than a computer online. We all love to be able to thoroughly inspect things before we buy them (granted, half the time we have absolutely no idea what we’re looking at), so the concept of buying something that you can’t see or touch was a little disconcerting. However, times are changing, and people are now buying more than just electronics online; buying travel tickets and booking hotels online have become commonplace, and last year apparel and accessories beat out computer hardware and software as the top non-travel markets in online retail. In fact, online apparel sales went up 61% in 2005 to a total of $18.3 billion dollars — almost double the total from 2003.

A large part of the increase in popularity of online shopping is due to the fact that people have access to more detailed information regarding various products online. Five years ago, you were lucky if you could see more than one picture of the shoes you were thinking of buying, and chances are those pictures took about half an hour to load. Now, many retailers offer full photo albums for each product, and some even have movies of the product being displayed.

Even with all this progress and growth, though, the Internet still only accounts for about 7% of total retail sales, and research has shown that the meteoric growth of online retail may already be starting to slow. According to Forrester Research, much of the online retail industry’s money goes into minimizing glitches in the transaction process, rather than into the creativity or innovation. It’s time for a change—the online shopping industry has seen some incredible growth in the past few years, but it is going to take some cool new ideas to help make it a truly powerful presence in the retail world. Whatever those ideas may be, Shoeboxed plans to be there all the way, organizing that ever-growing pile of digital receipts. And it’s only just the beginning

Life without Paper Receipts

Chris Tingom had the right idea when he posted an article entitled “Receipts by Email” on his personal blog [link]. He had recently made a purchase at an Apple Store, and was pleasantly surprised with how they handled his receipt. When he went to the checkout counter, they asked if he wanted a paper receipt or if he would rather have one emailed to him. For the first time he realized what life would be like without paper receipts.

What’s funny is that we all deal with paper receipts on a daily basis. But they still seem like such an insignificant part our life: just a little piece of paper that comes with a new ipod, new shirt, or groceries. They come in handy when you need to return unwanted purchases, but otherwise they are just a pain to organize, store, and track.

But this is the thing: receipts are not an insignificant part of our lives. In fact, if we could just use them correctly, we would save time, money, and make our lives a lot simpler. For Chris, it only took one trip to the Apple Store to realize that there had to be a better way:

Andrew and I spent some time thinking about this and came up with this idea. What if their was a way to associate an email address with your credit card, and then whenever you used your card you could get a receipt in your email? What we need is a way to format this data (xml?) and get a feed for it, and then have shops and stores offer the email or xml feed option in addition to paper receipts.

When you really stop and think about it, we can all imagine this perfect world: one in which all your receipts could be automatically managed for you. You would log online and be able to categorize and organize your purchases. No more wasted paper. No more wasted time.

Well that day is finally here. Shoeboxed.com will automatically manage your receipts, fight spam, and help you get organized. It’s free, it’s easy, and it’s fun.

Sign up below and we’ll shoot you an email when you can start Shoeboxing!