Passbook & Apple Pay: What’s Next And How Marketers Can (And Must) Capitalize
Contributor Alex Campbell explains how marketers can capitalize on mobile payment systems like Apple's Passbook and Google Wallet.
As we learned on September 9, Apple is putting Passbook at the center of its Apple Pay system, which I believe will make Passbook one of the most frequently used apps on every iPhone.
This move is easily one of the two or three most groundbreaking moments in mobile history — and one I will always remember. With both Google and Apple ushering in innovations, it’s safe to say that the mobile wallet age has arrived.
For those early adopters out there, it has been a long journey for Passbook since its launch in September 2012. Even when it first debuted, Passbook was positioned more as the leather of your wallet, not the plastic, giving it room to grow into the mobile payment realm. Suddenly, consumers had a new and easy way to store boarding passes, movie tickets, coupons, loyalty cards and more — all on their iPhones.
As with any new technology, adoption of Passbook took time. But as consumers began using Passbook, they quickly got hooked, realizing that mobile wallets were the key to never having to worry about carrying paper tickets, coupons or plastic loyalty cards with them ever again.
Mobile wallet consumer data collected by Vibes, my company, found that 85 percent of smartphone owners see the benefit of storing mobile wallet content on their phones.
As Passbook’s value proposition began making itself clear to consumers, marketers began to see the value in it, as well. Passbook’s early adopters included some of the world’s most recognizable and successful brands: Starbucks, Sears, Home Depot, Bloomingdale’s, Sephora, Walgreens and Target were all some of Passbook’s first success stories — and it wasn’t hard to see why.
From the beginning, the mobile wallet’s value proposition for marketers was clear: unlike paper coupons and offers, marketers were no longer left in the dark once their offers were released into the wild. Passbook Passes allow marketers to gather data and run analytics to see how effective their mobile offerings are in the hands of consumers.
Another of Passbook’s clear value propositions for marketers revolves around communication. Since Apple launched Passbook in September 2012, it has offered location-aware notifications to consumers who save Passes to Passbook. When consumers are in close proximity to a shopping destination, Passbook reminds them that they have offers, loyalty cards and reward certificates saved on their iPhones.
Passbook does the hard work of remembering what consumers have stored on their phones for them, reminding them at just the right time and at just the right place. This leads to a 64 percent increase in redemption over a traditional mobile web-based offer, we’ve found.
When Apple introduced iBeacons with iOS 7 late last year, iBeacons functionality was instantly integrated into Passbook. This direct link between iBeacons and Passbook takes this location-aware capability to the next level.
Combined with Apple Pay, Passbook is now at the forefront of the consumer’s mobile wallet experience, giving retailers, brands and consumers more of a reason to use Apple’s mobile wallet.
Even before the announcement of Apple Pay, the results we have seen from our clients speak for themselves. (We’ll be hosting a free webinar on the topic on September 23.)
In the last 12 months, aggregate Passbook adoption rates among Vibes clients skyrocketed by an astounding 1,400 percent! Since our client Pep Boys started mobilizing its offers with Passbook in April 2014, its mobile wallet offer redemption rates stand at 30 percent. This tells us that consumers are using Passbook — and using it a lot.
Apple Pay and the marquee brands that Apple has on board at launch leave little doubt that there will be massive adoption of its mobile payment system, with Passbook at the center of every iPhone user’s mobile wallet experience.
Very few brands have the clout to power and create markets like Apple, and when CEO Tim Cook announced on stage that Apple Pay + Passbook was designed to eliminate the leather wallet — he meant it.
Why Marketers Must Capitalize
Apple’s adoption of its mobile payment system may finally be the tipping point to eliminate the need for wallets altogether. For consumers, it’s going to change Passbook from something that’s nice to have for things like tickets and boarding passes to becoming an essential part of their payment system and their iPhone experience.
For retailers, the rise of Passbook to the forefront of the iPhone experience will easily be the most effective way to engage with their customers. Brands cannot afford to miss out on the opportunity to have their branded content sit inside Passbook, alongside their customers’ Visa, American Express or MasterCard.
Mobile payment systems offer marketers a new realm of possibilities. If they think holistically about their programs, marketers will soon find there are numerous channels they can incorporate mobile wallet into, such as email, SMS, direct mail and display advertisements. All of these should be optimized for mobile wallets.
It’s as simple as adding a clickable “Add to Passbook” button that turns any marketing touchpoint into an opportunity to instantly add a Pass. It’s that simple; it’s that powerful.
Now is the time for marketers to step up their mobile wallet game with Passbook. October will be here soon. Get ready, because mobile, payments and marketing as we know it will never be the same again.
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