BrainTrust Query: Apple Passport a Potential Game Changer
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from the Hanifin Loyalty blog.
Amid all the hoopla over Apple’s recent Worldwide Developer’s Conference, the biggest news for those following the loyalty and payments industries had to be Apple Passport, one of the shiniest features of iOS6. While consumers see the ease and utility of being able to have coupons, boarding passes, movie tickets and digital loyalty cards at their fingertips, the brands that will have their apps folded into Passport have a lot to think about.
The exact details of how Passport works are not yet clear, but assume that users will be required to give permission to access the mobile apps on board the phone from airlines, movie theaters or any retailer that has a loyalty related application. Passbook is time and location enabled, so passes and tickets will appear on the phone’s Lock screen at just the time when they can be used.
If you’re approaching security at the airport, your digital boarding pass will appear. Walking into a retailer where you have a coupon good for that day, the QR code giving access to the coupon would appear. Or, if you’ve loaded your favorite loyalty apps from Starbucks, CVS, Sovereign or AmEx, you might be reminded that you have sufficient points to redeem for a specific offer.
Passport won’t exactly cut out the middleman but it does have potential to shift consumer focus from retail brands, such as Starbucks, to its own.
Consumers will still need to interact with the individual mobile apps created by Starbucks, CVS and others to load value, check their points balance and find a store location. However, in the act of extracting value from a loyalty program, a subtle shift in brand focus takes place. While users turn to Passport for offers available based on their location, they could mentally relegate the brand’s mobile app as just the "utility" behind the scenes.
I’m guessing, but access permissions are only step one in this game of mobile loyalty. Being able to develop a bespoke mobile loyalty application directly within a Passport platform can’t be far behind. In that case, mobile application developers would shift focus from building standalone mobile apps to creating ones that live and breath within Passport.
If these scenarios come to pass, the consumer will come out the winner and, after all, we are all working to please the consumer. At the same time, creating advantage for your brand’s loyalty program via a mobile application will become more challenging.
My suggestion is to start planning for this new scenario now. Google has to be considering how it will respond to Passport and you can expect the entire mobile application market to shift in the direction of working under the Apple or Google tent.
Discussion Questions: What do you think of Apple Passport? Is it a potential game changer for mobile wallets? How should retailers respond?