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Pep Boys connects with Passbook, driving incremental value

The nationwide automotive service and retail chain was one of the first brands in its category to mobilize its offers using Apple’s Passbook and Google Wallet. While Passbook has not caught on as quickly as some expected, the app stands to benefit following Apple’s announcement last week regarding Apple Pay.

“From a timing perspective, Apple’s announcement will have a momentous effect on Passbook,” said Mark Tack, vice president of marketing at Vibes. “Passbook is at the center of the Apple Pay payment system on the iPhone.

“The clear expectation is that Passbook will become an app people use on a daily basis to pay for things.”

Going mobile
Pep Boys’ mobile wallet program was introduced in April 2014, and has yielded strong statistics. The brand has claimed significant “save to phone” and redemption rates, which have led to additional revenue.

Twenty-six percent of clients who saw a Pep Boys Passbook pass ended up adding the offer to Passbook, and 30 percent of those redeemed the offers in-store. Vibes, a mobile marketing firm, asserts that the average redemption rate is 24 percent.

“Pep Boys has done a great job of integrating Passbook into their overall mobile strategy,” said Mr. Tack. “It is important to orchestrate all mobile touch points all along the customer journey and make sure they are all integrated.”

“These Pep Boy results are the gold standard for the mobile wallet industry,” he said.

Typical offers presented by Pep Boys and other brands include discounts on services and loyalty cards.

Rise of mobile wallets
The iPhone comes with Passbook pre-installed, but is exclusive to Apple. Google Wallet is available for both iPhone and Android.

Any retailer or brand can present customers with content and offers, and people can add coupons to Google Wallet or Passbook from mobile sites, text messages, emails, branded apps, mobile banner ads, social networks, and direct mail. These could be loyal customers, or clients who visit sporadically for specific services.

Adding coupons from the mobile site has been a successful new customer acquisition method for Pep Boys. Passbook and Google Wallet are essentially mobilizing paper-based coupons, and are eliminating pesky troubles such as misplaced offers or overflowing coupon books.

Pep Boys has been using Passbook since before the Apple announcement, and has experienced very high engagement rates with mobile loyalty cards and coupons.

Vibes has revealed that only 0.8 percent of users have deleted the Pep Boys pass from Passbook. Therefore, especially following the introduction of Apple Pay, brands should be clamoring to inject their presence into Passbook.

“Once you get in Passbook, you stay in Passbook,” said Mr. Tack. “Very few customers delete Passes which creates a perpetual presence on loyal customers’ phones.

“Apple raising the profile of Passbook creates unique opportunities for marketers. Marketers need to act quickly to get their branded content like offers, coupons and loyalty cards in Passbook right next to consumers’ credit cards.”

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York