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7-Eleven tacks on Passbook integration for app and Apple Watch

Convenience store chain 7-Eleven is adding Passbook support to its application to drive mobile purchases by streamlining transactions and making it easier for users to participate in the retailer’s loyalty program.

Fans of the brand can now add mobile coupons into their Passbooks on iOS devices to receive in-store promotions and updated discounts when checking out. As 7-Eleven continues bolstering its mobile commerce strategy to augment consumers’ time in its bricks-and-mortar locations, foraying into Passbook is likely a smart move, although the same coupons must be offered for Android customers.

“Passbook is creating more convenience for our customers,” said Raja Doddala, vice president of digital and new ventures at 7-Eleven, Dallas, TX. “It makes it easier for our customers to participate in the 7Rewards loyalty program and increase transaction speed.

“This is important for our customers who are time-strapped, on-the-go and need to get in and out of our stores quickly.”

Easier saving
Passbook generally allows for easier saving, thanks to the prompts it sends consumers after they enter a loyalty or gift card within the platform. They may then be fueled to search for coupon deals, which they can save in Passbook and use when shopping on mobile or in-store.

Consumers nowadays are eschewing the traditional methods of couponing, for fear of losing and misplacing paper clippings. Brands seeking to bump up their sales on mobile would do well to offer digital coupons, especially ones that may be saved to a smartphone wallet.

“Since Passbook is an intrinsic part of the iOS experience, it can be a powerful tool when harnessed by brands with commerce apps,” said Guillaume Lelait, general manager at Fetch, San Francisco. “The native iPhone app offers a seamless way for commerce brands to latch on to mobile devices and provide a smooth purchasing experience to their users.

“For example, Passbook passes automatically appear at the right time or place because they include time- or location-based information. The Apple Watch can also connect to the Passbook app to make transactions more convenient and faster.”

The chain’s fans can now receive quick access to their member bar code when they are near a local store via the Passbook integration. Additionally, the partnership is optimized for Apple Watch, meaning customers can present scannable coupons on their wearable device and complete a payment with their smartphone.

This removes the need to carry around cash or credit cards, an especially useful feature for on-the-go consumers running errands.

“I would absolutely expect mobile wallet to drive significant incremental foot traffic for 7-Eleven,” said Alex Campbell, chief information officer and co-founder of Vibes, Chicago. “I’d also expect Passbook to reach a different customer segment for 7-Eleven that may not heavily use the app, which can help it interact with customers who may not be willing to download the app.

“Passbook is a great companion to an app but that’s limited thinking. Passbook needs to exist independently of an app to create exceptional value.”

Rewarding loyal customers
The chain is standing out in the convenience chain sector by employing a mobile-heavy focus for rewarding frequent shoppers. The brand is attempting to drive more app downloads by offering a “FREEkend” promotion, allowing users to scan their app in-store on Saturdays and Sundays to receive a free item.

No purchase is necessary to participate in the summer-long deal.

Additionally, coffee drinkers and Slurpee fans are encouraged to scan their member bar code with each purchase, resulting in a free seventh cup.

Last month, 7-Eleven continued to build its prowess at leveraging mobile to simplify everyday purchases through a new partnership with the Pi mobile wallet application in Taiwan (see story).

Meanwhile, in June, the convenience chain partnered with mobile payment service PayNearMe to enable users of Nevada sports betting service William Hill’s app to deposit cash to the app within 7-Eleven stores, in an attempt to draw in more customers (see story).

The chain is already seeing positive responses to the Passbook integration.

“Early data shows there is high adoption,” Mr. Doddala said. “The feedback directly from our customers and those from app store reviews are extremely supportive.

“It’s exceeded our expectations.”

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