DDi - April/May 2013 - (Page 102)
Photo: Chuck Lohre, Cincinnati
Pass the phone
Apple’s Passbook app signs on more
retailers for in-store savings
By Janet Groeber
ast September, when Cupertino, Calif.based Apple Inc. launched Passbook (an
iOS 6 app for the iPhone and iPod Touch)
at its Worldwide Developers Conference, there
was much speculation surrounding a digital wallet
from the über-cool company. Could Apple create
a one-stop shop for offers and coupons, much the
way it created iTunes for music and games? Could
this be a game-changer in terms of storing customer loyalty cards, gift cards and coupons in one
place? And, what bottom-line effect could it have
Turns out, Passbook isn’t really an e-wallet
like Google Wallet, which uses near ﬁeld communication (NFC) technology to make payment
to retailers. Passbook’s innovation is its ability
to store and remind users of what deals or gift
cards they have at retail establishments. And, in
true Apple fashion, the idea was to organize these
little digital bits (think slips of real paper stuck in
your physical wallet), so that they could be used
“super fast” to streamline the iOS app experience.
Yes, the app can be used to make payments at
some retailers, including Starbucks, for example,
but tech watchers say its strength lies in quickly
and easily displaying ticket codes (think airlines
and sporting events) or coupons, the preferred
catnip of the bargain-seeking class.
Coupons.com, the digital couponing juggernaut, is now offering Passbook coupons directly
on its website—some of which are exclusive. This
is an impressive feat, considering Coupons.com
has 21 million monthly unique visitors and says
it will offer more exclusive deals to Passbook coupon users in the future.
That’s great news for bargain-savvy customers
who visit the Coupons.com homepage (which is
mobile-optimized for the iPhone’s web browser)
and access deals by tapping the “Get Coupons”
button underneath the “Passbook” section at the
top. Users are redirected to a second page to view
offers, and can then add coupons to their digital
wallet with just a few more taps. Then, it’s off to
the bricks-and-mortar store for redemption (and
bragging rights for bargain hunters). Upon checking out, customers show the on-screen coupon
to the cashier, who then scans the barcode. Passbook coupons clearly include the retailer’s name,
offer description and expiration date. In case of
scanning trouble—and these can happen when
the screen is too light, for example—a numeric
code (and instructions for cashiers) can be entered directly.
Currently, the Coupons.com app is focused
mainly on coupons for grocery and consumer
packaged goods, but Cox Media’s Valpak also is
getting into the Passbook act, as is Gyft.com, who
recently did a gift card giveaway test with Sephora.
The good news for retailers is that there is no
major incremental capital spending required to
work with Passbook, because it does not rely on
NFC technology (which often requires businesses
to upgrade their checkout systems). Retailers only
need the ability to scan QR or ticket codes for the
feature to work.
At the time of the launch, Passbook-integrated
offers were available from about 20 retailers, including Barnes & Noble, Bon-Ton, Carter’s, Lane
Bryant, Macy’s, Michaels, Old Navy, PetSmart,
Shopko, ULTA Beauty and Yankee Candle.
Since the initial launch, the app has been
updated, and Coupons.com also has expanded its
retail roster to a whopping 50 retailers, including Best Buy, Coach, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Hallmark, Home Depot, jcpenney, Nordstrom, Ofﬁce
Depot and West Elm. Stay tuned, as new retailers will be added frequently, Coupons.com says.
And, like any evolving technology, more changes
and new options are surely on the horizon.
To email this article, visit www.ddionline.com/magazine.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of DDi - April/May 2013
DDi - April/May 2013
Table of Contents
From the Editor
From the Show Director
Tiffany & Co.
Paris Kids Department
Technology & Customer Engagement Section
Big Data Column
Design Leaders 2013
Shopping with Paco
DDi - April/May 2013