The familiar paper receipt that accompanies virtually ever physical store purchase is to be phased out by 2020 when it is expected that the last UK resident without an email address will have died of old age.
The plan is, instead, to request an email address, to which the receipt can be emailed or sent to a smart phone app instead.
"This will save an awful lot of paper," said Peter Perkins, general manager of Tesbury's, the popular high street supermarket. "And money of course."
With the prevalence of smart phones expected to reach nearly a hundred percent by 2020, it has been determined that should an item wish to be returned, this can be done by downloading the receipt on to the smart phone, or for those still not keeping up with technology, they can email the receipt back to the store, or, in a last ditch approach, print off the receipt at home.
"We'd rather they download the receipt app for their phone," said Perkins. "It will be vastly more convenient."
Using the app, the receipt will be instantly available on the phone.
"We plan on introducing the app in 2015, and have a five year transition period," said Perkins. "To allow people to get used to the concept before phasing out printed receipts altogether."
This approach has a number of key benefits for consumers and retailers alike.
"People can keep all of their receipts for ever," said Perkins. "Should they want to. And why wouldn't they? For retailers, it will allow targetted promotional material to be sent to people even if they only ever by one can of beans from a shop. Special offers on beans, for instance, could be of great benefit to the consumer."
Not everybody is happy at the plan. Privacy groups are up in arms.
"Shops already know more about us than we realise," said Karen Perkins, PR spokesperson for Privacy Matters, a privacy advocate group and wife of Peter, which has caused some rows over the breakfast table. "It only takes a moment reading the emails from online retailers to realise this."
"People will always be able to opt out of targeted marketing," said Peter. "If they write to the retailer in Sanskrit, ensuring that the letter arrives on a Thursday between half nine and eleven in the morning, stating that they do not wish to be sent targeted emails, we will honour their wishes. Alternatively, for a mere fifteen pounds, they can purchase the opt out app for smart phones."