Why Passbook Integration is a Must

July 4, 2013 Mitch Seguin

This month, Apple’s Passbook application will mark its first birthday since being announced at Apple Worldwide Developers Conference last year. Because of this milestone, I felt now would be a great opportunity to dive into the Passbook trenches and look at its successes, failures, and why more organizations should be supporting it.

For those who aren’t so familiar with it, Passbook is designed to be a digital wallet for those items that would be great to have at specific instances in time, but never seem to be around – coupons, loyalty cards, and event tickets, for example. It’s not a place to store your credit card information, driver’s license, or anything else of a confidential nature that you’d prefer to keep away from the wrong set of eyes.

Passbook’s Early Traction

How successful has Apple been thus far convincing consumers to ditch their paper versions for the slick virtual versions? Well, if you ask anyone using anyone using the Starbucks Card, Cineplex or Fandango movie tickets, or airline tickets, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who didn’t acknowledge the convenience. To date, American Airlines has over 1.5 million Passbook subscribers, while Sephora has announced that 375,000 reward cards have been integrated with Passbook.


So what makes Passbook so valuable? Apple’s ‘secret sauce’ for these passes is the mix of leveraging geo-fences, time, and an ability to dynamically update their attributes. For organizations like the ones listed above, that ‘secret sauce’ allows them to bring real value to their users by leveraging all the great features of mobility to create a truly convenient app. For instance, an app that provides single-swipe access from the lockscreen to movie tickets while your hands are full of popcorn and soda is a really valuable service. So given how great these digital passes can be, surely every organization with an mCommerce iOS app is taking advantage of Passbook, right? Wrong!

Differentiating your App with Passbook

Passbook-enabled apps in the Canadian App Store: 14. Passbook-enabled apps in the US App Store: 30. Abysmal.

As it stands, Passbook integration remains a huge opportunity for organizations to reach their iOS users and certainly deserves more attention. Given the low number of apps that currently leverage Passbook, being added to this list of Passbook-compatible apps is a sure way to increase your app’s visibility in the App Store. If you’re a current Passbook user, you’ve probably caught yourself hitting that ‘Apps for Passbook’ button before; integrating Passbook immediately gets your app on this short list. Even more icing on the cake: passes and their associated apps are completely decoupled! The upshot of this is organizations can distribute passes via links and email attachments without the user even realizing there’s an associated app. This functionality allows organizations to easily distribute their passes whether they’re interacting with their users through apps, e-mail, or the web.

If you’re part of an organization, you now have some insight into how Passbook may fit into your mobile strategy. On the consumer side, if you’re not already using Passbook to make life a little easier, I hope I motivated you to launch a Passbook-enabled app and experiment with it. Here at Xtreme Labs we’re all about mobile and igniting those conversations on how to best leverage technology. If you’re interested in discovering how Passbook could work for your organization, ring/email/tweet us!

Connect with Mitch Seguin on LinkedIn.

About the Author


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