What is Passbook?

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Passbook is an app by Apple that offers users a new way to organize boarding passes, event tickets, coupons and loyalty cards on iPhones and iPod Touches. Using Passbook, you can get the attention of nearby customers based on location, time and notifications. Although Passbook is an Apple app, there are solutions for Android, Blackberry, and Windows Phone.

What is Passbook-capable of?

Using Passbook it is possible to use a digital coupon to get the attention of customers. Passbook is an app by Apple – part of iOS 6 and above – that stores digital coupons and tickets. When the user saves a coupon in Passbook, he/she can get a notification from the app based on his/her location. The coupon receives the attention and the code on the coupon can be used for the corresponding offer. Passbook supports the following barcodes:

  • QR code
  • Aztec code
  • PDF417
  • Text

Updating coupons

Remote updating of coupons in Passbook is very simple. Once a coupon is saved in a user’s Passbook, it can automatically be updated to new offers. The user will see the new offer right away without having to do anything himself. Resending the coupon is not needed when a user already has the coupon in his Passbook.

How does Passbook work?

First of all, a digital pass needs to be created, containing some text and – optionally – images. Locations can also be added, for example, branches of a store. This Passbook pass is uploaded somewhere and the corresponding download link can be distributed using Facebook, a website, newsletter, or anything else you can think of. Customers can visit this link using their phone and add the pass to their Passbook. Once the phone is near (one of) the location(s) Passbook will show the coupon. The customer is reminded of the coupon and is able to use it. By scanning the code on the screen of the phone the coupon is used.

How do I create a Passbook coupon or ticket?

Creating a Passbook pass starts by using our Bindd system. With our dashboard, you can easily design and create loyalty cards or passes with a certain offer or discount. This pass can then be distributed online.

What types of passes does Passbook have?

passbook-passes
Passbook has five different styles of passes. The types differentiate from each other in use and the way a push notification is sent (distance, time, location, or a combination).

  • Boarding Passes – A boarding pass is a pass that is most useful for public transport, like a train ticket, plane ticket or other modes of transportation. Each pass corresponds to a journey from A to B with a specific start and end point.
  • Coupons – Coupons contain discounts or special offers.
  • Event tickets – Event tickets are used to gain entrance to events like concerts, movies, plays or sports matches. For each event, a ticket can be made, either for single use or a season ticket.
  • Store card – A store card is a card for loyal customers, most often used for loyalty points and gift cards. The pass contains an amount of money or a number of points which can be used to pay or collect prizes. After using the money or points this number will be updated immediately.
  • Generic – Generic passes are all passes that do not fit the descriptions above. For example, a membership card for the gym or a ticket to reclaim your coat after visiting the theater.

What is the reach of Passbook?

Passbook style Radius Relevance Example
Boarding pass < 1000 meter Date or location Plane ticket / Train ticket
Coupon < 100 meter Location Supermarket discount
Event ticket < 1000 meter Date or location Entrance ticket for the cinema
Generic < 100 meter Date or location Membership for gym
Store card < 100 meter Location Loyalty card

How do I distribute my Passbook coupon or ticket?

The best channels to distribute a Passbook pass are social media, a company’s own website, by email/newsletter or integration with another app.

Social media and website – Use Facebook, Twitter, and other social media to quickly distribute Passbook passes. Eye-catching badges can be used to point users to the availability of Passbook. By linking to a coupon or ticket, specific target audiences can be targeted on social media.

Email – The big advantage of sending Passbook passes by email is simplicity. When the user receives the mail, a special button appears which opens the pass in Passbook (this only works in the default iOS mail client and when sending the pass as an attachment, other mail clients will just see an attachment).  This is one of the easiest ways to add passes to Passbook.

App – Using your own app as a channel for Passbook is an extra functionality for users of your app. Users stay up to date of the latest offers by using your app.

What do I need for Passbook?

To use Passbook, a user needs an iPhone or iPod Touch running iOS 6 or higher. Passbook is automatically available in iOS 6. Unfortunately, it is not available on iPads.

For Android and other operating systems, unofficial third-party apps are available that are able to do the same as Passbook, such as Pass2U and PassWallet.

Point of sale system and barcode scanner for Passbook

To scan Passbook barcodes, we recommend using our iPad app for Bindd. Optionally one can use a different optical barcode scanner. All supported barcodes are two-dimensional. These 2d barcodes often don’t work properly on conventional laser scanners when scanned from a phone screen.

It is also possible to use a special unique code below the barcode on a Passbook pass. This code can be entered into the point of sale system manually without the need to scan it. Of course, this requires an extra action from the register operator.

iBeacons

New in Passbook for iOS 7 is a feature called iBeacons. iBeacons are small objects that transmit a Bluetooth Low Energy signal. In Passbook, these beacons act the same way as a location: when the user is near the beacon, a notification will pop up. The nice thing is, certain iOS devices (iPhone 4S+, iPod Touch 5th generation+, iPad 3rd generation+) and Macintosh computers can also act as a beacon!

Passbook for Android and other OSes

Passbook is developed by Apple for use on the iPhone and iPod Touch. For Android, there are third party apps that support Passbook. One of these apps is Pass2U. This app reads the same Passbook passes as the iOS devices but on Android. PassWallet is available on Android, as well as BlackBerry and Windows Phone.

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