Grocery Store Receipt Ads

Anyone ever put an ad on the back of grocery stores receipt paper? A company is meeting with me today to talk about it. I have noticed ads on the backs of my receipts, but never used one. Anyone getting anything out of these? The cost would be $250.00 month for about 42,000 ads a month. I think it would help with brand recognition and maybe bring in some new customers.

I use them but I get them for 330 for 3 months. Had great response 1st and 2nd time Im doing it yearly now for 230 every 3 months. Still get probably 2 a day. Mostly new customers so I think its worth it.


I can remember somebody posting this question before and I think my answer was somewhat close to this:

I tried it back when they first stared gaining popularity in the early 90’s. We weren’t sure what kind of response it would get and because the grocery store was right across the street we decided to put a $3.99 Large Pepperoni carryout special on there (Domino’s Pizza btw). It completely blew us up for a few months. We had a drive thru at the store and I can remember the line of cars going around my building and 20 deep into the parking lot… every day. Our sales went from a $8.5k average to a $14k average almost overnight. I don’t know if you calculated it, but to gain and extra $5,500 per week in $3.99 pizzas, that translates to an extra 1,378 pizzas per week, or 196 per day!

Over the years it has steadily declined in popularity to what it is now: A colorful backing to the receipts that nobody really looks at. I actually tried it again last year in a brand new store located in a small town of 8,000 households… just to see what would happen. The result: Absolutely nothing. This was for a set price of around $250 for 130,000 total pieces. I might have had a return of 30 over a 3 month period, which didn’t even match the money I paid to put out the ad.

I know it’s tempting because the price is relatively inexpensive for so many ads. However, if it were me (as agressive as I am in advertising), I’d be cautious about this deal.


Don’t bother. I did it about a year ago, and didn’t even come close to breaking even on it. It was the ONLY campaign that I’ve ever LOST MONEY on. The few people that it did pull in were bottom feeders, and we never saw them again once the campaign was over.

Be honest… how many times have you saved a coupon from the back of a food receipt? Now if I could only sell people advertising space on the back of my receipts. Hmm…

That does make me wonder…does anyone have anything at the bottom of their own receipts that says something like, “Bring this receipt in on a future visit and receive ____”? If so, how does it work and what kind of offer do you put on there? We use Point of Success and would be able to do this. Of course, the cost is zero (which I love!) but I’m not sure what the most effective offer would be.

Thanks for any advice!

Hi Sarah. I’m the “Guest” that posted above you; I forgot to log in.

I did do what you’re suggesting, as my POS handles it too. The coupon was “Bring this in on your next visit and receive a FREE order of Garlic Bread. Coupon expires 3 weeks from date of receipt” As my average customer orders once per month, I thought this might build frequency.

We didn’t do very well on it though. Maybe 3 per week or so. We give about 2,000 receipts per month, so that’s not a very good response. We sell a lot of Garlic Bread, so there really wasn’t a reason for people to not use it. Most likely people saw it and still threw it out, so it did squat for building frequency.

But like you said, the cost is almost zero to put something there. So I took the “coupon” off and replaced it with “Visit our website at for printable coupons!” Almost overnight the hits to our website exploded, and we started getting a lot of online coupons back. I have no idea why that worked and not the “coupon”, but there you have it.

BTW, I love using online coupons. When I blast out a postcard to everybody in the database, I’m hitting the people that were going to be more than happy to pay full price anyway. But as long as they’ve got a coupon, why not get something free?

But those people aren’t going to go through the trouble of going online, printing a coupon, etc. But, the people that will ONLY order if they have a coupon will do it with no problem. So, I tend to put a little bit deeper discounted coupons online than in print, because I know the people heading there are more price sensitive. It’s a handy way to do a little price discrimination.

Edited: Changed 2,000 receipts per week to 2,000 receipts per month. I WISH I was that busy.

I looked at it some time ago just after taking over my store.

In Australia we have two major supermarket groups that dominate the grocery trade (about 80% share between them) and Domino’s has their dockets tied up with $4.95 pizzas. They are the number 1 and 2 retailers in Australia and come in as 99 and 100 in world wide retailers. I don’t know if Domino’s get much of a retrun from them but what it does it locks out their competitors.

Shop-a-Docket (marketing company for selling the advertising) offered me local based Discount Department stores for $950 each for 3 months.

I asked them for redemption figures from participants and all the sales rep could say was " they are huge, that’s why those who use it stay with it". I asked for some type of specific data but he rep could only look at me with a bewilded look on her face - didn’t know what I was talking about. She couldn’t, or wouldn’t, grasp the idea that I wanted some concrete evidence of the worth of participating in their programme. All I wanted was something like XXX store issued in the 3 months 40,000 dockets and YYY business had 400 dockets redeemed. She said that I was being difficult, asking questions that no-one else ever asked, was expecting too much for what they were supplying and that the buinesses who were using shop-a-dockets were getting lots of extra business and if I didn’t participate then I would be the loser.

Guess what? I didn’t participate and lost nothing, but with her attitude she was shown the door quick smart and her company had a complaint laid against her for her manner of doing business.

For $3,000 I had 25,000 menus printed and had 20,000 of these letterbox dropped direct to potential customers in 10 surrounding suburbs.
As we don’t have POS I cant specify what new business it bought in but I know we saw an immediate 10% increase in sales once the menus were distributed.


I saw this post and hope some people are still in tune with what is happening in the world of ads on the back of receipts, but it is becoming one of the more popular ways to advertise. I am a custom paper supplier and have customers coming to me with some excellent ideas beyond the typical marketing firms sell ad space.

  • If people own multiple businesses they cross advertise on their own receipt paper.
  • There is one very common size roll in the market and some national and local companies have printed ads on the back of the rolls, not to use but to hand out FREE to non competing businesses in their community to use.
  • Some businesses have saved money by pooling together, putting ads on the back of the rolls and they all use the paper to cross promote all of their establishments.
  • Like someone mentioned above you don’t need to have a firm offer in the ad, but using this space or offer something that will drive customers to your web site or facebook page so you can change up the offers as you like.

Please let me know if you would like any other details.

Pete Biondi
POS Supply Solutions

We got suckered into doing receipt ads when we 1st opened. Now, 15 some odd years later whenever a salesperson tries to sell us on a bad marketing idea my business partner and I look at one another and say: “I know, we could run some ads on grocery store receipts!”

And then we laugh.

It’s a game to see who can stay serious the longest. The one that can add, “Let’s do vinyl phone book covers too!” with a straight face before the crack up gets bonus points.

(pre-apology for snarkiness)
I cannot get enough of first-time posts that dredge up 4 year old dead threads to find something relevant to tack their business advertisement to. It just warms my heart to know we are worth being mined for free advertising by people who have never contributed to our community of owners, technicians, business owners and consultants/support-personnel.

I wish we could get more people to barge in here like that every day. [/snark]

Woow good catch Nick. The dates on the earlier posts were from late march and I did not even realize it was a resurected thread, I just thought it was a here we go again thread.

I have been tempted to “Moderate” these posts but decided I would let the community blast the spammers instead. I did send a PM to one that dug up a 5 year old post and forewarned him of the dangers.

Sorry to ruffle feathers out there, but this is still a reliant form of advertising and from a marketing view I was just pointing out new ways business owners like yourselves are coming up new an creative ways to get their product name known and attract new business. I just thought these were good ideas. Sorry to offend.

Like any form of printed advertising you really need to track the results and see what kind of return you get…And what might be a disaster for one shop may work well for another shop…I have heard of some clients doing co-op groups with other local merchants and they do it at a low enough cost to make it worthwhile…

Can you offer 3 or 5 pizzerias recently that are thrilled with the results you have gotten them with the POS receipt marketing? By thrilled, I mean have been repeat customers for 6+ months. Can you offer redemption rates for this program? As WA Dave listed above, I am interested in real live percentages of how many people actually return the offers . . . as an indicator of potential effectiveness. References for businesses who get good returns and are happy with their marketing investment would also lend credibility to the conversation. (non-Dom/PH/LC businesses)

I am in true agreement with Royce on this sort of thing in general. Each market will definitely shake out differently on some things.

I do add that no one here or in my personal conversations has had positive returns on receipts. I personally look on the back of all the receipts I get at grocery stores, etc. to see what offers are available. Local restaurants usually get my business if they have a good offer, but I can’t make a business decision based on a sample of one. Mr. Biondi, give us some real interaction and information to give us some confidence that talking more about this could be useful to the membership here. I am easing up and asking you to change my mind.

I am with the majority of the guys on here as far as the value you get out of the paid for grocery store ads. However, I think it might be a pretty effective tool to partner up with 3-4 other complimentary businesses in town to create your own custom paper. You could benefit from the buying power of 4 stores to reduce the cost of the custom paper. If the cross promotion is placed in the right stores it could be a goldmine. (Thinking Ice Cream, or Carwash) You would be buying the paper either way. Why not partner up with some like minded business?

Am I missing something?

If you market to coupon/discount shoppers, thats what you get, COUPON/DISCOUNT SHOPPERS!

In this forum, coupon/discount shoppers seem to be regarded as the devil. I take a different approach. I sell probably 50% of my food to those actively looking for deals and 50% to those that couldn’t be bothered to save the boxtopper from their last order or the coupon magazine from their mailbox. I’m more than happy to serve both markets. I profit more from those who don’t want to clip coupons, but I still profit plenty from those who do. In my market, if I completely stopped putting coupons out, I’m pretty sure I would remain in business, but lose a significant share of my profit.

Paul, you know your market! And if there is one thing I’ve learned, its you’ve got to know your market!!

The company that I work for Strategic Print Solutions is experiencing an increase in business for custom printed Point Of Sale receipt tape using QR Codes and 2D Tags. QR Codes will one day be on every register receipt tape for businesses that will hand each and every one of their patrons innovative marketing through each transaction. Many retailers are already using this technology to inform their customers of ongoing promotions and discounts.
Jimmy Jump
Create Your New Brand of Marketing Today!