By Russell Schwager, Director of Engineering, Advertising Platform, Jumptap
Recently, I’ve been delving a bit further into the features and functionality of Apple’s Passbook. Overall, I think the tool has tremendous potential and leverages m-commerce in a unique way. However, I’m beginning to see articles predicting the death of the tool, which – based on my initial experience – I can understand. In my first test of the tool, I attempted to add passes for a large drug store chain and national rail service. Both required me to download their app and interact with it. In the case of the drug store pass, I needed to log-in to the account, take a picture of my rewards card and verify the account with my zip code and date of birth. Unfortunately, upon data entry completion, the process failed. Even after a phone call to the company, I was not able to add my card. In the case of the national rail service, I could not turn any purchased tickets into Passbook passes without logging into the brand’s app first. Unfortunate, considering the app itself offers less value.
The practice of using the app to distribute passes is unneeded in a lot of cases. iOS allows for passes to be put into the Passbook through email, app or web. A better use case with the national rail service brand would be to include a link for the pass in the confirmation email much like Webex or Eventbrite for Outlook calendar entries. Two companies who are maximizing Passbook and seamlessly integrating it into their apps are American Express and Starbucks. Both companies have built engaging apps that allow users to easily upload reward cards.
With this mind, I’ve compiled the top five tips for companies looking to integrate with Apple’s Passbook:
- Keep it simple. Many iPhone users are not yet familiar with Passbook functionality, so keep your integration simple from the start.
- Think like a user. Prior to setting your Passbook functionality live, walk yourself through each and every step of the process to ensure the most positive consumer experience.
- Don’t force it. Determine whether app distribution makes sense for your Passbook pass. If it doesn’t, don’t force it. Consumers won’t be satisfied with a round peg in a square hole.
- Assess your building materials. Determine whether building your Passbook functionality from scratch or using the existing ecosystem makes the most sense. You don’t always need to reinvent the wheel.
- Track and measure. There are multiple ways to track Passbook interactions, so don’t miss out on the opportunity. Set your goals from the start and leverage the tools that help map back to them.
For most brick and mortar stores, the ability to engage a customer as they walk in the door via mobile has been a constant, though difficult, goal. Passbook offers a helping hand by messaging users upon store entry and providing push notifications within the pass background. The opportunity for user engagement is huge, but it’s up to the brand to ensure consumer experience and integration.
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