Intrigued by Susie Lu’s (@DataToViz) recent tweet, sharing the prototype for a reconditioned supermarket receipt, we wanted to add our perspective to the commentary this generated.
Visualizing your spending habits and financial data has become increasingly popular, look no further than the likes of Monzo, Revolut and Mint.com as modern examples. But for a store to provide more visualized information alongside the sales summary is a fresh take, building further to engage consumers with their spending habits.
Comments on the prototype were very broad, ranging from very positive to quite negative.
Negative comments questioned putting time and effort into something printed on non-recyclable paper (thermal paper cannot be recycled) and the receipt not being the right channel from a timing and placement perspective to correctly engage. There were also themes against trying to make a receipt useful beyond its purpose of providing proof of the purchase total.
But there were also strong positives to counter the negatives such as where this approach could lead in the digital space, or the possibility to enrich visuals further on categories such as recyclability of products, local products, or blending financial and nutritional motivations to include detail such as the sugar content of purchased items.
From a Datylon point of view, we like that this dataviz experiment interrogates something which has remained unoptimized for many years. It's not about this version being the endpoint but rather, starting the conversation (and that it sure did!) to see where it can lead in adding more value to the end-user.
This prototype is challenging an every day item, making us stop and question if there is a better approach, especially now that the data and tech is more accessible. We are certainly fans of any innovation that personalizes, and exposes the human side of data to influence and produce more informed decision making.
So in this sense we wholeheartedly agree with Susie’s intention, understanding that this is just part of a much larger investigation on how dataviz can be better integrated into improving and enriching our lives.
As when this starts to happen, change will begin to occur. From data to change.