[Tribune] Passbook or when the street regains its rights to all digital

by bold-lichterman

With the release of the iPhone 5 yesterday, Apple is launching the new version of its iOS 6.0 operating system. Each release comes with its share of new features, each more “amazing” than the next;)

Among all these new features, the application Passbook represents a real opportunity for merchants keen to strengthen their customer relationship, stimulate sales in their stores and go beyond the current boundaries between physical commerce and e-commerce to deploy a true omnichannel strategy.

Tribune Passbook or when the street regains its rights to

Passbook is a new application in many ways, and as always with Apple, simple, elegant and easy to use.

In short, Passbook allows its users to centralize their loyalty cards, their discount coupons, their travel or show tickets in dematerialized form at a point in their iPhone. No more forgotten loyalty cards or lost coupons when checking out the store, Passbook keeps everything in memory.

Simple and practical, just click in a merchant’s email to add a coupon to their passbook. A schedule change for your flight? The ticket is automatically updated via Passbook. More revolutionary, Passbook democratizes the commercial use of “geo-fencing”. What is geo-fencing? It is the possibility of sending a message or a push to a user on his mobile according to his geographical position.

Until then, Apple restricted the ability of brands to send geolocated messages to users who downloaded and turned on the brand’s application. With Passbook, as soon as a consumer has agreed to be contacted by a brand for the first time, the latter can send him a geolocated push. We can already imagine the solicitations concert on Saturday afternoon rue de Rivoli!

Passbook is obviously a tool to be handled with measure, however it represents for traditional traders a real opportunity to take their revenge when pure e-commerce players are carving their croupiers day after day. In the United States, many brands have already prepared their Passbook strategy: Starbucks, Delta Airlines, Starwoods Hotels, BestBuy have been roaming their offers for several months.

All is not idyllic of course. First, Passbook only concerns iPhone users: there is no doubt that the competitors will join forces to offer other comparable systems very quickly. Then some advertisers have already told me about their apprehension about becoming dependent on Apple in their customer relationship if Passbook becomes essential.

What are the next steps ? Where does Apple plan to take us? Passbook seems to me to be the prelude to a symphony well orchestrated by Apple to take a central place tomorrow in commerce, m-Payment and Customer Relations. One thing is certain, is that with Passbook the street regains its rights to all digital: it is now up to French merchants to quickly assess and seize this opportunity.

Christophe Leon – President of PureAgency.com