Why Passbook will be renamed Wallet

— Passbook —

Apple launched Passbook App in September 2012. Passbook is a pre-installed App with the purpose of dematerializing physical cards, tickets and coupons into mobile passes and storing them into one single place.

Since 2012, the passes have been gaining awareness among several industries, with a high focus on air travel and retail. Marketers caught the eye on a huge digital marketing potential by using Passbook to engage via mobile with their customers.

However, the commercial roll out and adherence, mainly from the brand´s side, of Passbook at the beginning was slow which let to a low usage and awareness. If Passbook was like a normal wallet why couldn’t it support payments? What was the point of it?

— Apple Pay —

In September 2014, Apple announced that it was partnering with Visa, MasterCard and American Express, which allowed consumers to store their credit and debit cards and to pay through their iPhones. In October 2014, with the official launch of Apple Pay at the United States for iPhones 6 and 6 Plus, all the messages and doubts were simplified as each Apps had their own roles. Just 6 months after the launch, Apple Pay acceptance and usage was growing fast, giving consumers access to contactless payments with Apple Pay in more than 700.000 locations.

On July 2015, and after a huge success on the US, Apple Pay was launched in the UK, supporting about 70 percent of all British credit and debit cards, and services such as Post Office and other popular stores and restaurants.

— Wallet —

A physical wallet contains all types of credit and debit cards, store cards, membership cards and papers, such as coupons or boarding passes. So, it´s natural that a mobile wallet, where all the above is also stored together uses the Wallet name to communicate the same purpose: commercial transactions and relationships between the consumer and the brand. Consequentially, in 2015 with the release of the new iOS 9, Apple merged both Passbook and Apple Pay Apps into one only brand named Wallet.

With the launch of IOS 9, there is a major change which is the possibility of having a new code: EAN 128. This will allow Apple Wallet to grow faster driven by both brands and POS acceptance. In addition to this add-on, thanks to the location-based features linked to Passbook and the new iOS Maps, Wallet now knows which card you need when you’re in a given store and presents the right option. Also, these passes can now be distributed through Safari or scanned using the built-in scanner inside the App.

Starting this fall, Apple Pay will support Walgreens Balance Rewards, Kohl’s, Coca-Cola, Dunkin’ Donuts, Panera Bread, and Wegmans.


Altogether, Apple Wallet presents itself as the main mobile wallet competitor. This statement translates in offering a stronger mobile marketing opportunity for brands, with a higher reach and effectiveness that no brand should refuse.

Digital wallets, such as Passbook, are key to effectively use beacon push notifications

The premise of beacon technology has created a big buzz amongst marketers, who see the potential of a more personalisation and relevant customer targeting. However, it’s important they understand and exercise with caution how to use beacons in order not to be invasive and also to have the ability to create relevant, contextualize and personalised content.

Leveraging location-based technology will undoubtedly lead to a closer, more personal relationship in the way brands communicate to their customers. It presents a win-win situation for both brands and customers, as marketers can see better results from their campaigns and customers can get more relevant offers to their own tastes and likes.

However, some consumers, worry about privacy issues when brands can directly send messages to their phones and can also feel annoyed by too many push notifications or by the ones that are not relevant to them.

Positioning beacons in-store can counteract some of these issues, by taking advantage of the customer’s location for a more beneficial situation. Customer interactions with beacons will normally only happen after downloading a Passbook Pass or having a specific App, meaning there is already an opt-in by the consumer. Nevertheless, over-targeting, being too personal or sending to many push notifications can drive the customer’s to delete the Pass or uninstall the App.

The quantity and types of push notifications comes down to good judgement (common sense) and ultimately, thinking from the customer’s point of view about whether you would respond well to those specific messages. Research by Punchtab revealed that 88% would be willing to use location-based technology if it mean they would receive special offers or coupons. So, it´s key to provide value to the customer, giving him a good reason to be contacted.

Combining Digital Wallets, such as Passbook, with beacons are perfect for in-store push notification to easily allow customers to obtain passes and influence their in-store activity, with the goal of encouraging them to make a purchase. The seamless process of adding a pass on the go into the smartphone is becoming part of the future, and of how we shop with taking advantage of smartphones and digital wallets.

What iBeacon Technology Can Offer to Retailers

The unique features of iBeacon truly offer the ability to revolutionise retailers’ in-store experience, by allowing a better understand of customers’ path, real-time interaction with their customers, which represents a huge potential to engage in new products and offers to increase sales. But automatically there are two questions that arise.

The first question is what is an iBeacon and how it works? Beacons are Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) devices, that work as small indoor positioning systems, to send information to nearby smart devices. In the case of a smartphone that information is delivered via the brand’s App or through Passbook, and then displayed as a push-notification on a pre-subscribed user’s screen.

This enables retailers to send-up-to date, contextualized and relevant information to a customer depending on their exact location in the store and based on their behaviour.

For example, imagine you’re in a department store that sells a vast range of products, each time you walk past each section and are near that particular beacon you’ll might get a different message on your phone, be it promoting a new line of clothes or a discount on French wine etc.

The second question that needs to be asked by the retailers is ‘What can Beacons offer to my customers?’ The answer to this question is very simple; Facilitate and improve their in-store shopping experience. iBeacons offer a cost-effective way to efficiently engage with customers on a platform they are familiar with, their smartphone.

These days, the smartphone goes everywhere with the customer and it’s already integrated into their shopping habits, particularly as many major retail brands offer an App to browse and buy all their products. According to a research carried out by Swirl, 85% of those who own a mobile shopping App use it whilst shopping in a store. Furthermore, 65% of them said they consult their smartphone whilst in a store to find out about products and offers. This means, that through the smartphone, retailers already have a ready-made platform to attract their customers’ attention, and a push notification from an iBeacon is one of the best ways to do that.

The benefits of this technology for both retailer and customer are endless, and the possibility to create more interaction between the two is one that can even bring more trust and build the relationship, whilst allowing the retailer to reap the rewards of offering them better service.

Finding the right equilibrium to make the best use of iBeacons is crucial. In the case of normal push-notifications, the balance of sending the right amount to users is a difficult thing for brands to gauge. However, with real-time location-based push-notifications, retailers can send information to customers at a time when they actually want to find out more about product offers, and best of all, since they are already in-store means they are in the perfect place to act on those messages and buy products.

iBeacon can also work side-by-side with a store’s existing technology, to give retailers a way to better understand their customer’s behaviours, tastes and needs, whilst offering them a more personal shopping experience.

For example, when iBeacons’ push-notifications are used in conjunction with the store’s App and existing CRM platforms, retailers have the ability to tailor the messages they send out to specific customer group.

How it works is that when the customer’s smartphone receives the information from the iBeacon, prompting the App to send a push notifications, the store’s system can also be notified who it is that has entered the store. Automatically, the staff working at that time will, have access to important information, such as purchase history or what tastes and prefer products that customer has. Likewise the message sent out by the iBeacon, could be totally personalized and can be sent only to a particular group of shoppers and thereby maximise the exposure of certain products to the right target group.

Summarising, iBeacons represent a neat and effective way for retailers to better understand and get closer to their customers by enabling them to easier access contextualized and relevant offers, and thereby increasing sales.



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.