Especially since the beginning of the global corona pandemic, many retailers have complained of a sharp drop in sales. Online retailers, on the other hand, benefited and were able to increase their sales enormously. But the probably well-intentioned idea of the Italian government has also met with a lot of criticism. The retailers feel that they are too tightly controlled and do not believe that more customers will flock to the shops again because of the “receipt lottery”. On January 1, 2021, the time has finally come: the nationwide “receipt lottery” announced a long time ago can finally start. The government in Italy developed this concept to help the troubled retail sector. To enter the competition, customers must match the “ticket number” printed on the receipt on the government website with the winning numbers published there. The aim is to motivate the population to buy more frequently in stationary retail and not to order everything from online retailers. However, some dealers already criticize the idea before it is put into practice.
Official lottery for everyone?
The planned “receipt lottery” is a long-term project of the Italian government. The core idea is to revive physical retail. From January 1, 2021, weekly or monthly drawings will take place, in which both the customer and the retailer who printed the receipt in question will receive a prize. To enter, the customer must match the “winner codes” with the code on the receipt on the government’s online platform. First and foremost, attractive cash prizes are planned. If the customer wins around 10,000 euros, the dealer receives 2,000 euros of that.
Strictly speaking, however, this is a game of chance, which is still viewed very critically by at least some parts of the population. After all, even well-intentioned offers like this “receipt lottery” could be addictive in principle and lead to at least a small proportion of customers falling into a kind of “buying frenzy”.
Traders are likely to be forced to participate indirectly
The Italian government has announced that no retailer will be officially compelled to participate in the “receipt lottery”. Also, non-participation by the authorities should not be punished. There is, however, a catch: the participating customers are called upon to report non-participating retailers to the authorities. In the further course, the tax authority can then check which registers are being used. A law was passed in 2016 that obliges retailers to modernize the cash register systems they use. The cost of retrofitting is put at up to 600 euros. There is probably no government grant for this. In addition, the transition period, during which “old” cash register systems are also tolerated, ends punctually with the start of the “receipt lottery” on January 1, 2021.
Many retailers have not yet retrofitted POS systems
There is a reason why many retailers are not interested in the “receipt lottery”. According to information from the daily La Nazione, many local retailers have still not upgraded their cash register systems. Among other things, the corona pandemic has ensured that sales fell sharply this year, so that many merchants can currently not afford a modern cash register system at all.
Regardless, many retailers point out that such a lottery may not be the only solution to save physical retail. You have to make the on-site shopping experience much more attractive in order not to lose even more customers to the online shops. In addition, many retailers suspect the government behind the campaign to be able to better monitor stationary trade, in particular to avoid tax evasion. A trader from the Florence area was outraged by the Italian government’s plan:
“I haven’t adjusted my cash register yet and I don’t want to. Maybe this is just another way we should be controlled “
At first glance, the Italian government’s idea seems very good. On closer inspection, however, it becomes clear that the aim of politics is more to be able to better monitor stationary retail. If every retailer has a modern cash register system, which is a prerequisite for participating in the “receipt lottery”, then the tax authorities can monitor the sales of the dealers much better. In addition, it is questionable whether the majority of customers will even bring themselves to shop at the retailer they trust on site because of a weekly or monthly lottery, or whether convenience will not win and the majority will continue to be bought online.