12 Readings to start 2015 up to date!

2014 is gone and what a year, it was! To start the year fresh, we selected 12 articles for those who are interested in hot topics as mobile wallets, the mobile marketing revolution or mobile payments and mobile coupons!

  1. #GoogleWallet : Make your phone your wallet
    In May 26, 2011, Google launched the first mobile wallet. Google Wallet is an native app for Android users to store cards, coupons and tickets into their smartphones whilst a mobile payment system. It works with NFC – Near Field Communication that allows users to interact with their stores only using their smartphones. From seeing an offer to using a coupon and adding points to its store card it can be a great tool and strategy for retailers.
  1. #Passbook : Apple’s Passbook
    In September 19, 2012 Apple introduced Apple Passbook: a native app for iOS that serves as a mobile wallet to substitute all cards and paper coupons. However, while Google allowed payments —which raised the first wuestions about mobile security and privacy issues — Passbook wasn’t related to payments and opted for a different strategy: create a better product integrated with Siri and Maps while improving a service that could end consumers’ doubts.
  1. #ApplePay : Apple Announces Mobile Payment Solution
    In September 9, 2014 Apple launched its first mobile payment service for the United States. A system that connects with Apple Passbook and, instead of using safety pin codes, it using touch ID to bullet proof payment security and it doesn’t collect any payment history, in order to ensure its consumers. With over 800 million registered users and a good partnership based network, Apple moved to the top list of competitors in the banking businesses.
  1. #Mobile Wallets : A Recap in the World of Wallets
    With the emancipation of the mobile wallets as Google Wallet and Apple Pay, the payments market raised and developed a mobile payment ecosystem, all of them fighting to be part of this innovative channel. Samsung created its own wallet for Samsung devices. Paypal and Visa started a race for partnerships. Third party apps emerged to act as easy-in distribution channels such as Loop Pay and CurrentC.
  1. #ConsumerEngagement via Mobile Wallets: There’s No Way It Won’t Become a Norm
    “Consumers prefer to have a unified mobile payment app that can be used in multiple stores while integrating individual store coupons and loyalty programs among millennials (55%) and users 35 years and up (46%) alike, the report says. But, 34% of consumers weren’t even aware if their favorite stores offered mobile payments or not.”
  1. #Omnicommerce : The Best of Omnichannel in 2014
    The news aboutApple Pay in September generated an unusual amount of mainstream media attention. Since it was announced, it has already changed the way we talk about mobile payments and has unlocked (and will continue to unlock) new sources of value for consumers and merchants. Apple also has a unique ability to mobilize an entire ecosystem – and that prompted Karen Webster to ask: Can Apple Pay shape the future of omnicommerce?”Now, omnichannel is no longer a trendy word but a requirement for all sort of businesses. Now it’s not just about what you do. It’s about how you communicate, how you reach the end consumer and, most importantly, when and where you reach them.
  1. #iBeacons : 15 Companies from Airports to Retail Already using iBeacon Technology
    With the introduction of iBeacons — One end, Low Energy Bluetooth devices — to the mobile payments world, a new form of marketing was born: Mobile marketing. The concept of mobile marketing allows brands to empower consumer mobility and communicate with them at the most relevant time opportunity, with the most relevant content considering timing. Displaying only the information that particular consumer wants at the most convenient time is one of the best way to drive store traffic and increase consumer engagement.
  1. Google Wallet won’t let you buy digital goods on the web past March 2015
    With the rise of mobile wallets and the crushing power of Apple Pay, Google Wallet announced in November 2014 that in March 2015 it would no longer allow the payment for digital goods. However, it can still be used for physical goods since last month Google Wallet announced a partnership with Disneyland in Orlando.
  1. Do people really use Apple Passbook?
    Mobile wallets bring a lot of innovative thoughts and interactions. However, it is normal to stop for a bit and ask ourselves: Do people really use this? Yes, technology is fast and the market goes 360º everyday. Nevertheless, when playing with consumer — people — interaction, it’s a totally different thing. We’re talking about mass movement and mass cultures and it takes time for people to adapt and adjust, to learn new concepts (that are in constant change) even if they’re here to help.
  1. Apple Pay Might come to the UK in early 2015
    Finally, Apple Pay is coming to Europe! UK is already aware and prepare to take in Apple Pay and, like every Western Country in Europe, it can’t wait to put the hands on it to see how much it will change the economy, specially because now Mesh Beacons are on the table.
  1. #MeshBeacons: Move over iBeacons, here come Mesh Beacons
    Instead of receiving and sharing information from one end to another, mesh beacons allow to track information once shared with the end consumer. So when entering a store, a mesh beacon can guide you within the store until you reach the specific product that you wanted to buy because it can receive the GPS signal of your smartphone and use it to give directions to point X.
  1. #Passworks: Passworks raises 1M for Passbook Campaigns
    We were born.
    Passworks is, like Passk.it or Passwallet, a third party platform that allows brand to create, communicate and distribute mobile marketing campaigns using Passbook of Google Wallet.Since the beginning of 2014 we are here to be part of this mobile ecosystem. To make it easier for users to connect better with their favorite brands and to allow brands to become relevant for consumers, to penetrate in a new channel and explore mobility as it’s only being discovered to achieve the best of omnicommerce.

    2014 was a great year that allowed us to learn more about this world, to develop with new achievements and to be prepared for what’s next. With a new year, new challenges are ahead. We are excited to be here for 2015 and we can’t wait to share our next projects we have stored for and with you.

 

Here is to 2015! Happy New Year!

The Benefits of Apple Passbook for Brands

Passbook offers brands a significant opportunity to drive engagement with customers and increase store foot traffic through one convenient app.

Passbook is an app native to Apple devices, pre-installed on all operating systems that run iOS 6 or later. The essential premise is one place to store coupons, event tickets, loyalty cards and the like, but more than just being a digital wallet, it also represents huge marketing potential for brands.

The fact that Passbook is a default app means a target audience already exist that are accustomed to using it. In the US Passbook is already the 4th most popular mobile commerce app and a fifth of all iPhone users already use it to download coupons. Furthermore, with over 300 million iPhones around the world and all future devices set to have Passbook installed, the wide range of users that brands can reach is vast.

The convenience of having all a wallet’s non-payment aspects in one app is beneficial to both brand and customer. For example, the easier access to both coupons and loyalty cards allows brands to offer their customers a seamless interchange between the two whilst increasing sales and providing better customer service.

Location-based notifications enhance the dynamic features of a Passbook pass allowing brands to send updated information to their customer’s phone via push notifications, which highlights the potential to refine marketing strategies with more personalised, relevant offers. Apple’s iBeacon technology has already paved the way for geolocation to play a key role in brand to customer interaction.

Incorporating Passbook passes into a brand’s existing mobile marketing strategy has been shown to boost sales and increase coupon conversion rates, with 64% higher conversions compared to regular mobile web coupons. It also provides a totally different platform to a brand’s app, as consumers don’t want to fill their phones with apps for every different shop or restaurant, and require a simpler, more expedient way of utilising their smartphone whilst in-store.

Crucially for smaller brands, Passbook doesn’t need an app to work alongside it, as passes can be added straight to it via email or SMS. This opens up the barriers to entry, enabling brands with smaller resources to have a cost-effective way to offer their customers mobile content and drive up sales. However, there are also Passbook-enabled apps which prompt you to add a pass straight to Passbook allowing both to work in conjunction together.

Apple’s latest updates to iOS7 have made Passbook even more brand and user-friendly with features such as a barcode scanner allowing passes to be easily added on-the-go by scanning a QR and a share icon on the pass. These features make Passbook more accessible, ultimately helping to increase brand loyalty by allowing maximum exposure of a pass.

Virtual Wallets and How to Use Them

Why Bricks-and-Mortar Stores Need to Embrace the Mobile

Bricks-and-mortar businesses have been losing ground on their online counterparts for years now as they are undercut by cheaper prices and more convenience for consumers. However, one advantage they can offer customers is the unique experience of having a physical location to display products and an opportunity to interact with staff.

The growing competition from online retailers means that the in-store experience and general customer service has never been more important for brick-and-mortar stores. Offering the consumer a seamless, interactive mobile experience is a vital way to do that.

In this digital age, where the smartphone is playing an increasingly significant role in influencing consumers’ spending habit, it’s essential that brands meet the high standards that their customers now expect of them. Digital wallets and close-proximity marketing are undoubtedly going to be part of the future of the customer-retailer in-store experience.

Making use of a dynamic mobile wallet pass has the potential to offer consumers a omni-channel retail experience that they desire. The many features of a digital wallet, including coupons and loyalty cards, allow the customer to incorporate their smartphone in to their shopping habits, whilst providing them value and creating brand loyalty.

The emergence of ibeacon technology which can be used in conjunction with mobile wallets, further underlines the potential to offer better, more relevant in-store experiences for customers and increases store traffic by enticing customers in to the store.

As a result of better access to a wider range of products and easy price comparison, the shift of power has switched to the consumer, as old-fashioned brand loyalty is disappearing, but for bricks-and-mortar stores embracing the changing nature of shopping habits is a must, with smartphone usage at the forefront.

 

First we had brick-and-mortar stores, then transactions moved online, and now Joe Pergola, vice president of sales and marketing at POS software and hardware provider AccuPOS, says location is even less important with the latest mobile payment options. “The museum gift shop eventually will have an event outside in the courtyard, and they want to bring some merchandise outside and sell it,” he offers as an example.

You can read more about Online Payments: Money Goes Mobile here.

The Growth and Rise of Mobile Wallets – Apple’s Passbook and Google Wallet

The current mobile wallet evolution is being fronted by Apple’s Passbook and Google Wallet with the ultimate goal of replacing physical wallets in favour of the smartphone. Both versions of mobile wallet offer roughly the same service, with a few variations.

Passbook and Google Wallet’s main features are storing passes, i.e. coupons, loyalty cards, boarding passes, cinema tickets, basically anything that used to be a piece of paper in your wallet, can now be kept safely in your smartphone. The principal concept is having one place on your phone to store everything you need.

Apple’s Passbook, launched in September 2012, is seen as the pioneer of using digital wallets to store loyalty cards and coupons, of which Starbuck’s was one its first brands. Although the app came out after Google’s, it’s path was clearly defined as a place to store passes rather than offer any form of payment.

Passbook is a native app, pre-installed in all iPhones, meaning that it only runs on Apple products and only those that run on iOS 6 system or later. One key feature of Passbook is that it enables iBeacon technology to offer geo-trigger push-notifications to iPhone users, which for example enables retailers to offer relevant, updated offers to customers whilst they are in their store. The iBeacon feature is something which Google are still in the process of developing.

The newest feature that Apple has added to iOS 7 system is a QR code scanner, used via the phone’s camera which allows the user to add mobile wallet content on-the-go. These passes can either be used as a digital pass or printed out to be used in-store.

Google Wallet’s journey to its current stage has been slightly different. Initially Google Wallet started as an online payment, Google’s answer to PayPal if you like, but the concept never took off and in September 2013 they moved to include the non-payment side, i.e. coupons, loyalty points, boarding passes etc. Google Wallet app that can run on any Android device with Android 2.3 or later and can even run on iPhones iOS 6.

In May 2013 Google rekindled their ambition to use Google Wallet as a payment alternative but this time by integrating it with Gmail enabling users to send money to anyone over the age of eighteen who has a Gmail account. Further in keeping with this idea Google have also introduced a quicker way to make online payments via the ‘Buy with Google’ button, allowing anyone with a Google Wallet account to make purchases on mobile apps and sites in only two clicks

As an extension of the app Google also now offer a physical debit card to go along with your Google Wallet app, which enables you to use its NFC (Near Filed Communication) technology to make one-tap payments.

Nevertheless, the whole Google Wallet service is still only available in the US, with no clear indication of when it will arrive in Europe. In contrast, Passbook has been available in Europe since its launch. Nevertheless, with the Android operating system being used on over 50% of current smartphone users’ phones, Google offer marketers access to a broader audience than Apple can. Therefore expect to see more retailers and brands incorporate Google’s mobile wallet technology in to their marketing plans in order to further create engagement and loyalty in their customer base, and ultimately increase sales.

There’s a clear distinction then that Google aim to incorporate their digital wallet as part of their wider plans of facilitating online payments for their users, whilst Apple’s Passbook is focused more on the non-payment side, solely being a place to store all the necessities of your wallet without making payments.

However with the launch of Apple Pay in October 2014, the in-store experience changed for retailers and consumers. Not only loyalty card are stored within mobile phones, the payment is made through NFC (Near Field Communication), a technology built-in iPhones. This means that the consumer only uses his smartphone to connect all services on the same mobile interaction. Adding the fact that Apple has already several major partnerships with major credit card services such as Visa, American Express, banks and retailers, this translates in a huge advantage for Apple.

iBeacon technology provides a glance in to the near future

Very soon we will see more machine-to-machine (M2M) communications between connected devices, allowing technology to create more efficiency and further improving our lives. iBeacons provide an insight in to the near future of that interconnected world of the Internet of Things (IoT).

Retail stores, airports and sporting events to name a few have already demonstrated why there is so much hype about the potential of ibeacons and the innovative ways it’s enhancing our mobile experiences, including more relevant, personalised marketing efforts and more effective ways of communicating with the public at events.

Apple’s release of their iBeacon functionality paved the way for a new way of looking a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and unleashed the premise of using beacons in conjunction with smartphones, especially for digital wallets.

iBeacons are a great example of how IoT will function with cheap, low energy devices interacting with smartphones or tablets to bring ordinary objects or locations to life, intrinsically linking the digital and physical worlds together. Furthermore, the easy accessibility of obtaining information from a beacon makes them ideal for use alongside smartphones, with a simple but effective push-notification being the preferred current method of relaying info or sending coupons.

Large companies from Major League Baseball to Virgin Airlines have led the way in adopting beacons, but it’s in retail that many are predicting it to have the most influence, especially in customer spending with Juniper Research suggesting there will be over 1bn mobile coupon users by 2019, highlighting the importance of digital wallets such as Apple’s Passbook or Google Wallet in the mobile marketing sphere.

The current use cases of ibeacons is just the tip of the iceberg in its own future potential and that of the IoT which will create a world linked by internet-connected devices, which in turn will create more productivity for all.

The importance of Mobile Marketing for Brands

Consumers have a strong relationship with mobile devices because they empower freedom while maintain the user completely connected. There isn’t a single day that passes by without checking the mobile phones regularly — even if it’s only to see if there’s a new notification or to check the time. (Hopefully with the new iWatch we’ll stop using our phone to check the time).

Mobile phones are no longer just communication means and started to become distribution channels. Mobility became the status quo of attention span from consumers, creating an opportunity for brands to be nearer the mind and hearts of their target audiences.

With mobile marketing, a brand creates access for its own content, asking the consumer for permission to receive that same content. “Mass marketing”, however, involves “permission marketing”, which requires personalized information that comes with a counterpart: a commitment and investment (too high) to match consumers’ high expectations on quality content and the ability to scale.

Considering the mobile context, there is a shift on consumer’s habits, motives, and consumption that changes the focus from the product to the consumer because ultimately it is he that decides to share or to be contacted by brands. Luckily, with mobile marketing there are many ways to engage consumers, such as push notifications, messaging, e-mail, passbook campaigns, apps and social media. However, in order to do so it must always be highly relevant because we’re talking about a media that is much more personal and intimate. One that stands in a world where the attention time frame is very short. Also, it has to be thought as a strategy and not just as a communication plan that uses mobile marketing as a mean because competition in the mobile context is for interested attention. With the stimulus that populates the audience’s mind the goal is to fulfill consumer’s goals at specific moments.

46% of consumers think that brands don’t provide relevant content and 54% think that mobile websites just aren’t enough. However, they all agree that it is easier to find information. Why does this happen? Despite what you might think, it’s not about what mobility allows you to do – which is to provide information at any given time and moment to any consumer – it’s about what it means: the ability to move or be moved freely and easily. Adaptability. Flexibility. Versatility.

The ability to move or to be moved:
In order to engage with a consumer a brand must know how to be the most relevant, especially if we live in the Era of “2-Second-Attention” generation. Every second is a chance to engage and it only takes a glance to be on top of mind or to be ignored. The consumer needs to be moved by the brand while he has the freedom to be on the move and to feel that particular bit of information is going to change his life.

Mobile marketing is redefining commerce and retail:
In the end, the biggest challenge for a brand is to know how to manage all this scalable messaging into a sustainable relationships — in a time where mobile marketing control depends on the consumer — while keeping its own identity and maintaining a personal 1:1 connection (which makes every marketing strategy even more fleeting).

Nevertheless, it’s possible. And an amazing opportunity.
A brand just needs to know how to use the right channels for this new “opt-in” consumer and to understand what is the exact content consumers’ look for to be relevant for them.

Why now is the right time to incorporate digital wallet passes in to your marketing plan

Get ahead of the game and take advantage of the huge marketing opportunity that digital wallets have to offer. That’s definitely the message if the recent roll out by major companies of digital wallet and iBeacon technology is anything to go by.

We’re rapidly expanding towards a future where smartphones will be even more inextricably linked to every aspect our everyday routines. Current consumers desire more channels to access brand’s content and require fast, convenient ways to do it.

The non-payment side of digital wallets such as Passbook and Google Wallet is still nascent in terms of brand adoption, but as smartphone users are becoming more in sync with its functionalities brands should look to move their tickets or coupon and loyalty campaigns to more dynamic digital smartphone versions. Companies such as Starbucks, Major League Baseball and American Airlines have been leading the change to digital wallets and reaping the benefits as a result.

Digital wallets form an important part of the current trend of new mobile technologies which are all focused on creating unique and innovative experiences for customers whilst paving the way for a more seamless transition between the physical and the digital worlds.

Real-time communication channels such as iBeacons are challenging brands to give more relevant information to their customers and provide opportunities to influence consumer spending whilst in-store.

iBeacons are set to play an important role in all brand-to-customer interactions in the near future, especially for retail stores in the fight to win back market share from online competitors with digital wallets at the forefront.

The benefits of Apple Passbook for brands

Passbook offers brands a significant opportunity to drive engagement with customers and increase store foot traffic through one convenient app.

Passbook is an app native to Apple devices, pre-installed on all operating systems that run iOS6 or later. The essential premise is one place to store coupons, event tickets, loyalty cards and the like, but more than just being a digital wallet, it also represents huge marketing potential for brands.

The fact that Passbook is a default app means a target audience already exist that are accustomed to using it. As an example, in the US Passbook is already the 4th most popular mobile commerce app and a fifth of all iPhone users already use it to download coupons. Furthermore, with over 300 million iPhones around the world and all future devices set to have Passbook installed, the wide range of users that brands can reach is vast.

The convenience of having all a wallet’s non-payment aspects in one app is beneficial to both brand and customer. For example, the easier access to both coupons and loyalty cards allows brands to offer their customers a seamless interchange between the two whilst increasing sales and providing better customer service.

Location-based notifications enhance the dynamic features of a Passbook pass allowing brands to send updated information to their customer’s phone via push notifications, which highlights the potential to refine marketing strategies with more personalised, relevant offers. Apple’s iBeacon technology has already paved the way for geolocation to play a key role in brand to customer interaction.

Incorporating Passbook passes into a brand’s existing mobile marketing strategy has been shown to boost sales and increase coupon conversion rates, with 64% higher conversions compared to regular mobile web coupons. It also provides a totally different platform to a brand’s app, as consumers don’t want to fill their phones with apps for every different shop or restaurant, and require a simpler, more expedient way of utilising their smartphone whilst in-store.

Crucially for smaller brands, Passbook doesn’t need an app to work alongside it, as passes can be added straight to it via email, SMS or distribution campaigns in social networks. This opens up the barriers to entry, enabling brands with smaller resources to have a cost-effective way to offer their customers mobile content and drive up sales.

Passworks platform enable brands to create a pass, manage and distribute a marketing campaign that may take the form of digital coupons, membership or loyalty cards, and events or travel tickets, via Apple Passbook.

The rise of mobile wallet marketing opportunity

In recent years, we have seen the rise of mobile payments and how they been changing the way customers and businesses interact. From PayPal, Google Wallet, Square, Isis and passing on to Visa and MasterCard, everyone has been focusing on driving mobile payments, improving and transforming the way people shop and pay.

Only more recently, have the mobile wallet non-payment features started to emerge. Primarily with the launch of Apple Passbook, and later with the new updated version of Google Wallet, mobile wallets have been redesigned to meet the needs of brands in delivering compelling content to consumers on their smartphones via the use of dynamic passes (such as digital coupons, loyalty cards, boarding passes, event tickets and others offers), push notifications and real time location based messages. Taking advantage of these features has become fundamental in the industry in allowing brands and retailers to communicate more effectively, while giving consumers an easier way to organize their items in one place.

This is a huge, and very real opportunity for brands and retailers to communicate and further build relationships with their customers. These new functionalities allows to easily send personalized offers, distribute passes which drive store traffic and increase both conversion rates and consumer loyalty and enabling a very cost-effective location-based marketing campaign.

At the end, brands and retailers can start exploring the emergence of mobile and social platforms as an opportunity to increase share of mind and share of wallet to create an interconnected and seamless experience between mobile and the shop floor.

Consumers have already made it clear they want a mobile wallet solution that gives them a seamless experience while helping to better organize all their shopping-related information, thus creating a better, more convenient overall shopping experience.

No longer do consumers need to carry all their paper coupons or plastic cards when shopping, traveling or going to an event. Instead, they can place their coupons, offers and cards in the mobile wallet and let the technology work for them. They can also be reminded of offers when close to a retail store or when a certain offer is about to end with a push notification that will appear on the screen of their smartphone.

Mobile is the ultimate and effective form of custom media because it is personalized and contextualized to the consumer. This is why it is important for marketers to create personalized and contextualized, relevant content based on their client profile. And if used properly, Google Wallet, Apple Passbook or other mobile wallets are effective solutions for brands to leverage customer acquisition, engage with consumers and drive traffic to their store. Nevertheless, these mobile wallets are not brand or retailers friendly in a way that is easy for the marketers to create offers or vouchers, design campaign and distribute them their target consumers.

Passworks is a new best in class solution for brands and retailers, that enables effective customer acquisition and strong engagement that drives store traffic. It’s an integrated solution for mobile marketing campaigns management using Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) or an Application Program Interface (API) to create engagement mobile wallet campaigns.

With Passworks’ marketers can design their dynamic passes (digital coupons, membership cards, loyalty cards, event tickets, travel tickets), create the respective marketing campaign, choose a profile target, define location-based notifications, and distribute them directly to customers´ phones of all major mobile platforms via Apple Passbook, Google Wallet, Windows Phone Wallet and other their parties Apps through integration with social networks among other channels.