Why UK Supermarkets should adopt Passbook now

iOS has only been released in the UK for 3hrs and 33 minutes at the time of writing and not much has changed yet. One application for myself has updated; Shazam. They claim that from now on Shazam will require iOS6 because they love it so much. I'm not sure if there is some money being pumped in somewhere or not?

It's been a good 3 months since Apple first announced iOS6 at their WWDC keynote which has given companies ample time to make use of the awesome new features that users now have on their handsets. One of which, and the one I'm going to write about is Passbook.

{% blockquote Apple http://www.apple.com/ios/whats-new/#passbook %} Your boarding passes, movie tickets, retail coupons, loyalty cards, and more are now all in one place. With Passbook, you can scan your iPhone or iPod touch to check in for a flight, get into a movie, and redeem a coupon. You can also see when your coupons expire, where your concert seats are, and the balance left on that all-important coffee bar card. Wake your iPhone or iPod touch, and passes appear on your Lock screen at the appropriate time and place — like when you reach the airport or walk into the store to redeem your gift card or coupon. And if your gate changes after you’ve checked in for your flight, Passbook will even alert you to make sure you’re not relaxing in the wrong terminal.
{% endblockquote %}

Touted as finally being the replacement to plastic store cards, gift vouchers etc, Passbook offers location and time based awareness of itself, allowing companies to shout about offers to the customer, or even bring the card to your lock screen so you don't have to mess around trying to find it. As a developer and a consumer I'm super excited about this feature and the true amount of potential it has. And yet companies seem to be ignoring it, at least in the UK.

Today I tweeted both Tesco and Nectar; two companies who get alot of my money from for both groceries and fuel. Since I have what Tesco call a "clubcard" and Nectars card in plastic and use them both regulary, it'd be super useful if they were to offer Passbook alternatives. So I asked them whether they plan to.

{% tweet https://twitter.com/UKTesco/status/248448116058103809 align='center' %}

{% tweet https://twitter.com/nectar/status/248361418250924032 align='center' %}

It's like they've not even heard of Passbook before myself and some others mentioned it. They're R&D teams must be living back in 2011...

Now correct me if I'm wrong here but both Tesco and Nectar are big corporations, both of them have at least an iOS app, and I'm pretty sure Android too and yet neither of them seem willing to want to advertise themselves as the company taking on the big new thing. iOS devices have a big marketshare and IMHO it's a big opportunity in which they're missing out on.

If I was them, I'd be jumping on this new piece of tech and advertising it like crazy. They could be the first UK (recognized) company to make use of it and yet they choose not to, not even say that it's compatible. Imagine being able to push to the user that their coupon for £1.99 off their chilled Sandwiches is about to expire, that's great customer service without actually having to do anything at all! I wonder how much time could be saved if the Store Card was automatically available on your phone as you get to the checkout? That'd be a lot of iPhone users who'd not have to search their pockets for their keys or that dropped store card, holding up customers behind them. Time saving and customer service, two very important factors you should look into.

It might be a different story if the iPhone was just coming out and this was a feature included from the word go, but it's not. And this is what irritates me. Apple have proven the worthiness of using its devices to do things, "there is an app for that" is one of the most overused phrases of all times, but it stands to reason.

So come on already, make use of it! This guy in America has, at PizzaExpress:

{% youtube watH-CvwFEw %}

Now get it into gear UK - this is going to be really big and useful for you!

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