Apple Passbook: Ten Ideas to Integrate the Benefits into Your Business

Posted on July 25, 2012

Apple’s new Passbook functionality will soon be available on iOS6, probably towards the end of September. Now is the time to be thinking of how you can use it to gain competitive advantage for your business.

Here are ten ideas to get your creative juices flowing:

1. Replace Paper Tickets

Paper is a pain. Your customers loose it or they forget to print it out. Even if you don’t have the ability to scan tickets, you have the ability to issue passbook tickets. Why is it better than just emailing an image or PDF? In Apple’s passbook the ticket won’t get lost, with geolocation it can pop onto the lock screen and be easily accessible. This means that your customers will be into your event faster with lower wait times.

2. Early Response Coupons

Do you want people to react earlier to your offers? Do you want to provide discounts to customers that sign-up for your service early or buy tickets to your events with an extra incentive?

Send them a coupon! With Apple’s Passbook, coupons can be easily integrated in your workflow so that users can present them when necessary to redeem them. This works better if the coupon has an individual scannable code so that it cannot be used twice, or if there is a one time purchase possibility within your business process, for example at entrance.

One possible use, if your customers share your event on Facebook, send them a coupon that they can use with passbook for a reduction on the at-the-door entrance fee.

3. Transit

Train use in the UK is on the rise, and one of the reasons behind this is the use of iPhones. Younger adults see more value in using their phones than driving their cars; so make their access to transit even easier by putting their transit cards for commuter trains, buses and trams directly on their phone. After all, it’s the device they have on them at all times.

Of course, this would be much easier if Apple introduces NFC into their new phones so that they can just be swipped, but some transit systems may support either barcode scanning of tickets or a visual verification process. Scanning, of course, would be preferable from a security point of view given the high-value of transit tickets.

4. Museum Pass

Almost every city has them. Three or four or five day passes to all of the museums in the city. Why not distribute those passes within passbook? Phones can then be scanned either with a digital scanner or a human eye, at entrance. Geolocation can also be used to highlight museums that the pass can be used in, when the customer is near by, hence unlocking additional value for the user and the museum. This would also reduce cases of lost passes and the additional cost this causes the organizations.

Some kind of validation would be good here though to prevent against fraudulent use. It can be scanning of the passes with an individual code and making sure that the code is not being used too frequently.

Moreover, the pass can tie into an application that describes which museums can be visited; driving further value for the user.

5. Loyalty Card

Are your customer’s wallets so bulging with loyalty cards that they are leaving yours at home? Are they no longer being loyal because they don’t have your card? Make sure your card is with your customers at all times by putting inside passbook. Most loyalty cards are now scanned at point of sale terminals, so it makes sense to allow a user to put their card into their phone.

A way to do this is to allow them to log into your website, and generate a link, either accessible from their phone, if they are looking at your site there, or to be sent by email or text message. If you already have an iOS application for your customers, let them access their Passbook loyalty card from there.

Update the passbook with the number of loyalty points they have, or with their earnings. For example, a cafe can show how many free coffees the user has earnt.

6. Allocated Seating

Are you providing allocated seating at your venue? Send it by email to your users with a Passbook attachment so that they can view it from their phone. When they arrive at your venue, a message will appear on their phone and they can easily see their seat numbers.

This can work just as well if your customers have to find a specific office or place. Send them the details with a Passbook card and they can install it on their phone and find where they need to go more easily. Moreover, if you link it back to your computer, and the venue changes, it will automatically update the pass so your customer always has to the most up to date information, reducing your costs of service and making their experience much smoother.

7. Hotel Rooms

As a frequent traveller, you can often be confused about your hotel room. It’s easy to forget which one it is. Most hotels now have your email address, so they can send you a reminder with a Passbook form with your room number. It’s more secure than the little pocket they give you with your keys, and can be activated by geolocation when you are near to your hotel.

8. Sports Passes

Our friends in Montreal, TrainingMobs, have just released their MobPass allowing you to access many different sports locations, gyms and yoga studios with one pass. It would be awesome if you could have your pass within your iPhone, so it’s always with you. The whole idea behind Training Mobs is to be able to go to any activity sponanteously, and what better way to be spontaneous than having your MobPass with you?

The same goes for independent studios. Many yoga studios manage their customers’ usage with scannable tags that they pay a lot of money for; and they charge customers a lot for them when they go missing. Put it all in the iPhone for a minimal marginal cost.

9. Library Tickets

It might seem strange to still need library tickets in a digital age, where books are increasingly being delivered as ebooks. Yet libraries offer a whole range of services, and there are still many books, films or games that you want to borrow from your local library as a physical item.

Your library ticket, the unique number that identifies you, can be sent to you for inclusion in your Passbook, so it’s always with you and very difficult to loose, forget or be stolen. Benefits for the borrower and benefits of smoother processes for the lender.

10. Student ID

When you’re at university or college, one of the main things that you’re using almost continuously is your student ID. So it’s the one thing you want with you at all times and it’s one of the things you most do not want to loose.

It’s also the perfect ID to place in Apple’s Passbook so that it doesn’t get lost.

11. Gift Cards

Bonus Idea: Give a gift card to a customer; send it to them by email and they can store it in their Passbook. It makes it easier for you as there is no need to send out paper or a physical card, and it makes it easier for the customer. If you want them to actually use the gift card, you can also have Passbook remind them when they are close to the location where it can be used.

This would also be great for daily-deals companies like Groupon or e-coupon systems like OneBigPlanet where they can provide the coupon details in a Passbook and have a reminder when a user is in the physical location where it can be used. Given that these coupons are specifically designed to drive traffic to local destinations, Passbook really is ideal for their management and distribution.

How do you see Apple’s Passbook being used for your business? Let us know in the comments below!

This is our 100th post on the Digital Possibilities blog!

Passbook Specialist Center for Business and Technical Support