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Cash register receipts could be a new content publishing medium

The lowly receipt has long been considered a nuisance by most people, but Jack Dorsey thinks it could be an underrated publishing and marketing platform, with many exciting possibilities.
Buzzfeed, the CEO of Square said the receipt had great potential to become something people would want to take home instead of just discard. The comments were part of Dorsey’s presentation today at the National Retail Federation’s Expo at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York.

“What if we see the receipt more as a publishing medium — a product unto itself that people actually want to take home, that they want to engage with, be fully interactive with?” said Dorsey.

He continued to pose the question, although he didn’t immediately offer up any solutions. “What can we do with this everyday tool?” Dorsey said. “What can we build into this canvas that’s actually valuable, that’s independent of the product you just sold? What can you give in this communication channel, this publishing medium, that people want to engage with?”

While a few bloggers were quick to dismiss Dorsey’s idea as rubbish. (Sam Biddle atValleywag called it “Dorsey’s latest proton stream of nonsense”) the Square founder and CEO may be on to something. As receipts move from paper to the digital realm, there are several things companies could do to make them more interesting. For starters, a digital receipt could add a link to the companies Twitter or Pinterest page, or even include links to other related products the customer might want to buy. A digital receipt could also offer an embedded piece of branded content that could entertain the customer, giving them some additional value for making a purchase.

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