Receipt  OCR Technology

Clock icon 18 min read Calendar icon Mar 20, 2024

Using Receipt OCR Technology to Extract Data


What is OCR (optical character recognition)?

OCR recognizes letters and numbers within a digital image (such as a PDF, scanned document, or photo) and ‘reads’ the image to produce editable and searchable text. It’s technology that has been around for a long time, with origins that go back to telegraphy over 100 years ago. 

OCR has been in widespread commercial use for over 20 years, continually improving in its accuracy, capability, and speed. Companies use it to digitize documents, automate data entry processes, and improve accessibility and readability. 

Using OCR to extract data from scanned sales receipts, invoices, purchase orders and more means there’s little need for manual intervention or receipt processing. It’s an efficient and time-saving way to capture data and reduce the risk of human error, and with the right integration, organizations can link it with other systems for seamless data flow. It also provides valuable first-party data that can be aggregated and used for analysis, or even personalization.

Why Use OCR for Receipt Recognition?

Using receipt OCR to receipt validation for consumer promotions, incentives, channel, and customer loyalty programs is fast, efficient, and accurate. Using receipt processing, you can run purchase-based campaigns that help drive sales or increased basket size while providing you with valuable shopper data. It provides an improved customer experience that helps to drive engagement, reward consumers, and scale activations.  OCR is:

  • Efficient: eliminating onerous manual processing saves time, especially for large-scale promotions, making it more cost-effective and removing the risk of human error. 
  • Rich in data: delivering first-party shopper insights, including the quantity purchased and other items purchased at the same time, favorite stores, time of purchase, and much more. 
  • Responsive: purchase validation in real time means that you can confirm acceptance to customers and even deliver rewards straight away (we all love a little instant gratification). 
  • Accurate: as well as eliminating the need for manual checks, OCR receipt scanning will filter out non-qualifying receipts and digitize everything, not only providing verification but also much more shopper data.  
  • Safer: Using OCR and a receipt processing platform allows you to spot fraud that human processors might miss – especially things like duplicate or altered receipts. 

Receipt OCR Captures Valuable Receipt Data

Receipts data provides valuable insight into consumer demographics, preferences, and behaviors, including:  

  • Retailer and location 
  • Date and time of purchase 
  • Product choices, combinations, and quantities 
  • Other brands purchased, including competitors or potential marketing partners 
  • Brand share of wallet 

Receipt OCR can capture a wealth of data which, when presented as readable and meaningful output, can be analyzed for key insights and a deeper understanding of consumer behavior, purchasing patterns, and preferences that can be used for personalization, segmentation, and retargeting. 


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How Does SnippCheck OCR Improve on Regular OCR?

Regular OCR gives you exactly what’s printed on the receipt: a combination of letters, digits, and words which can seem random. And this isn’t always an advantage. 

As an example, on one retailer receipt, Kellogg’s Froot Loops might appear as an alpha-numeric product code, like this: FL MRSHMW 003800014815 F. On others, it could appear as any one of many different abbreviations, such as FRULP, Kell FRU or K FL MW. These assorted jumbles of characters make the output difficult to read – especially when the report includes multiple retailers. This is inconvenient for brands wanting to understand and use the data to inform future marketing and promotional activity. 

SnippCheck’s receipt OCR uses machine learning and a proprietary product and retail taxonomy built up over more than ten years to add intelligence to the process. It maps what it scans to this universal taxonomy, recognizes the product reference, and translates the code or abbreviation into readable output. For example: 
Froot Loops 003800014815 Kellogg's Froot Loops Cereal Marshmallow 17.7oz 4.981 
This smarter output makes data reporting intuitive and easier to manage. 

Real-world Receipt OCR examples using SnippCheck

1. Driving Sales and Engagement for Duracell 

Duracell wanted to leverage their partnership with Williams Racing (F1 team) to drive conversion and engagement. We build a gift with purchase promotion for them, giving customers a game play for each valid product bought from a participating retailer.  

When the customer submitted their receipt for validation, the SnippCheck receipt processing platform used receipt OCR to identify how many qualifying items they’d purchased and gave them a single code for the correct number of gameplays (if their receipt had six items on it, a single code would give them access to six gameplays). This saved the customer having to enter multiple codes, making the experience easy and intuitive. 

2. Improving CX Through Receipt API Integration for L’Oreal Mugler

Mugler wanted to make it easier for their customers to earn loyalty points, while collecting as much data as possible. 

We integrated the receipt validation API into Mugler’s loyalty platform, adding a custom callback to base user ID. This created a seamless experience: when consumers submit their qualifying purchase receipts for validation, they can see their points have been added straight into their Mugler loyalty account. 

3. Retailer-Specific, Localized  Sales Promotion for Van Houtte 

Van Houtte wanted to drive sales of Van Houtte and Timothy’s products through Metro stores in Ontario. Snipp developed a sweepstakes management program that would reward participating consumers who had purchased qualifying products from the participating stores, providing technology, prize procurement, fulfillment and administration, including accurate receipt validation through SnippCheck receipt processing. 

4. Bilingual Instant Win and Sweepstakes Promotion for Nestlé Nescafé

Nestle wanted to make their Get Rich Quick campaign bigger and better in its second year. Consumers not making a purchase could enter by writing a 150-word testimonial and answering a mathematical question; purchasing customers could submit a qualifying purchase receipt for validation online. Snipp created and managed all aspects of the sweepstakes and instant win, from the microsite to reward fulfillment, and even included an online tracker to show how much money consumers had won in total. 

5. Driving New Year Sales for Nutrabolt C4 Energy

Nutrabolt wanted an exciting way to incentivize consumers and lead them to good habits in 2024. Using our receipt processing technology, their Be You, But Better gift with purchase and sweepstakes management promotion encouraged consumers to upload receipts for a gift card reward to use towards their fitness goals.  

SnippCheck’s receipt OCR scanned the receipts and validated purchases in real time, triggering an immediate email confirmation to let each consumer know that they had been successful. 

6. Driving Sales Frequency and Delivering Rich Data for Tommy Hilfiger

Tommy Hilfiger wanted to drive sales frequency by incentivizing consumers in the USA and Canada to make two transactions in-store or online on multiple visits. To claim their gift card reward, consumers used easy online receipt validation through SnippCheck, our receipt processing software, which we integrated into the client-managed platform.  

Automated receipt processing meant that consumers received their reward confirmation straight away. At the same time, our intelligent receipt OCR provided the client with rich, meaningful data to inform future marketing and promotional activity.  

7. Powering a Gift with Purchase Program for ONE Brands

ONE Brands wanted to implement a seasonal gift with purchase program to drive trials while leveraging their partnership with Xponential Fitness.  

Using SnippCheck’s receipt processing API made it easy for qualifying consumers to claim a 3-month subscription to Xponential Fitness.  

See SnippCheck’s Capabilities for Yourself

The right receipt validation technology makes purchase validation easy, fast, and accurate for you and your customers. SnippCheck’s specially designed OCR receipt processing software delivers rich and meaningful outputs packed with valuable first-party shopper data, and helps to reduce receipt fraud. 

Schedule your SnippCheck receipt OCR demo today