How to digitise your retail business

Digital and innovation

19 December 2016

As well as being better for the environment, going paper-free could save your business a lot of money.

According to a study by Nitro, more than nine out of ten businesses are trying to reduce their reliance on paper. Of the ones that have already gone paper free, 84% achieved payback in less than 18 months and 28% achieved full return on investment within six months.

While offices have been striving towards a goal of going paper free for years, there are a few ways to digitise a retail business too.


It's estimated that more than 11 billion receipts are printed each year in the UK, but that could be about to change. Digitising receipts could also make your bookkeeping more efficient and save you time.

Britain's biggest retailer, Tesco, made waves recently when they announced that they'd be trialling receipt-free shopping at one of their Essex stores. Instead of printing out receipts, they'll be sending the proof of purchase electronically to the buyer's smartphone. Clothing shops like New Look and Topshop have also started emailing copies of receipts to customers.


Keeping track of your inventory is easier when it's paper free, especially if your point of sale (POS) system instantly updates your spreadsheets. Apps such as Vend offer real-time reporting on your best-selling products, so you know what you should be ordering more of when. It also seamlessly integrates with online marketplaces so you can sell your products online as well (if you're not already).

Calendars and appointments

Scheduling software synced across your smartphone, laptop and tablet makes it easier to keep track with your commitments. You'll never be late for a meeting with a supplier or an interview with a new staff member again – even if you misplace your diary. The default Google calendar is easy to use and sends frequent reminders, but there are more advanced scheduling apps like Toodledo, which doubles up as a productivity tool.


Paper rotas can be fallible, especially if you move some shifts around and your staff don't notice. Scheduling your rota online and putting it on a centrally managed platform like FindMyShift is a good way to keep track of absence requests and shift changes. It means there's no chance of confusion over shifts, and it also produces a clear record to provide your accountant with.

Paper free is the future, and provides a secure and practical way to keep your business admin up to date. With AXA, your retail insurance policy will be stored online, so even if you lose it, you can print or download it again.