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Closing The Apple Loop

Cafe customers on passbook

One of the biggest challenges for a loyalty program is getting, and keeping customers engaged. A big part of that is making the process for identification and redemption as seamless, and ideally, as fun as possible. This also holds true for staff. If the staff aren’t engaged and you’re making their job harder by adding another step to the customer interaction, then staff are not going ask the all important question of "are you on our loyalty program?". Some loyalty solutions try to avoid the staff issue by removing staff from the equation and have the customer self-fulfill i.e. enter the number of value of the items they purchased themselves. There's obviously massive fraud issues with this. And on top of that, you want your staff engaging more with customers rather than less, and you want to make customers feel valued by your staff members.
So when trying to address of issues of how to make customers love you, who do you look to towards for inspiration? Apple, right? It is universally, that one brand that consumers use the 'big L' word to describe their relationship with.
So in trying to overcome this consumer engagement issue we have looked to Apple to see what we could learn from them. Obviously, we started with the iPhone and how we could make that product part of the process. Then we started looking more closely at Apple Passbook. For those of you who don’t know what Passbook is, it’s awesome - but people generally don’t know much about it because there’s not a lot of content out there. However, Passbook is resident (it can’t be deleted!) on every iPhone with iOS5 or newer.
So, we got to work and have now integrated our new Collect Apps with Apple Passbook. Now when a customer receives a reward or an offer from a Collect merchant, they get an email notifying them of their reward/offer and gives the customer an option of adding it directly to Passbook. When a customer comes near your store they get a passbook notification on their iPhone lock screen, reminding customers of the rewards/offers they have available. When customers go to make a purchase they can now simply show the cashier the coupon, who then scans it and the reward/offer is added automatically to the current sale. Once the sale is complete, hey presto, loyalty transaction complete! And because every coupon has an unique code and once it has been redeemed becomes deactivated, this takes the risk out of coupon abuse for the merchant.
And in the next iOS release, Passbook will be combined with Apple Pay to create Apple Wallet. This will mean the process will be even simpler for the customer and the cashier. All the customer needs is to have Apple Wallet open to identify themselves or redeem a reward or offer and simply tap their iPhone on the NFC reader and they’ve paid as well! What could be simpler?
Enter a new age of customer engagement with loyalty programs and a simpler and more engaged life for retail staff.

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