Apple’s latest operating system, iOS 6 includes an incredible new feature called Passbook that will revolutionize the way people pay by mobile. Passbook is an app that allows users to keep their tickets, passes and store rewards cards all in one place for easy and quick access. This is a game changer for mobile marketers and is likely to revolutionise the ways in which we conduct marketing online.
Merchants can develop passes for their business, and make them available for download to encourage purchases from mobile phones. Users can access passes for free and preview before deciding to add them. While passes are relatively new, select companies have quickly jumped on the bandwagon, including Target, Ticketmaster, Fandango and Starbucks.
Some apps users have already installed on their iPhones have Passbook integration built in. How Passbook works really depends on how each merchant sets up the application. Some businesses require customers to load up the pass and turn the screen of the mobile device toward a scanner to read the barcode. Some more advanced merchants have set up tap and go applications, which don’t require graphically scanning a barcode. Individuals can also give Passbook permission to monitor their location, which activates a feature called geo-fencing. For example, when a customer with a pass for Starbucks walks into the coffee shop, Starbucks Pass automatically loads up without any user input required.
Passbook is compatible with iPhone and iPod Touch, but not yet functional with iPad or iPad mini. Consumers who can’t wait for their favorite merchant to get onboard can create a pass using a third-party app. Examples of such programs are PassWallet, PassSource, and Passdock. Businesses who want to get out on the cutting edge of technology can use a program called PassRocket to generate their own passes for customers to use on Passbook.
Technology is changing quickly, and mobile marketers need to get on the bandwagon or they will be missing out on mobile purchasing power. Passbook is just one of over 200 new features for iPhone fanatics. While it is not a full-fledged wallet for mobile devices, it is an excellent springboard for future eCommerce.
More companies are expected to join the trend and offer passes in addition to their existing mobile apps. Businesses will need to offer discounts and other incentives to get some people to try Passbook, but its time and money saving features may just sell themselves. Ultimately the Apps convenience and diversity will be its biggest selling points and we’re likely to see a number of companies jumping on the bandwagon – as it will essentially offer a low cost way to market to millions of Apple users.
James takes his iPhone everywhere, so when he bought a new iPhone from Three mobile, he was very excited to discover that he could even use it to pay for purchases when he went shopping. It sure helped him spend more money!