Tesco and The Body Shop to use Apple’s mobile wallet for marketing

Tesco and The Body Shop are two of the first UK retailers to start using Apple’s mobile wallet to market to their customers.


Dubbed Passbook, Apple’s mobile wallet lets users store items such as receipts, boarding passes and voucher codes on their mobile device. But take-up by UK companies has so far been slow, with the few firms that use it doing so only for managing customer relations.

However, the two retailers, plus Seatwave and eFlorist, are now set to use Passbook as an affiliate marketing channel, letting users store vouchers for use later.

They have signed up to a service from Tradedoubler aimed at letting brands market to customers by nudging them towards an action. The retailers will be able to target customers that have stored vouchers with marketing messages using, for example, their location or if an offer is coming to an end.

Tradedoubler’s UK mobile head, Neil Ranatunga, says the service allows brands to fill the gap between customers leaving an affiliate site and making a purchase. And while it is still early days, with the feature still in beta testing, so far 50 per cent of customers that are offered the possibility to add a voucher to their Passbook do so.

M-commerce has long been hailed as a big opportunity for retailers, but so far uptake has been slow. This is down to a number of challenges, including concerns over privacy and issues with mobile connectivity and understanding what is on offer.

While uptake of Passbook in the UK has been slow, it is one of the most popular mobile commerce apps among US consumers, along with the likes of eBay, Amazon and Groupon. A fifth of iPhone owners in the country use it, while big brands such as Sephora and Target are using it as a marketing tool to acquire and retain customers.

Apple’s offering is not the only option on the market. Weve, the joint venture between mobile operators Everything Everywhere, Vodafone and O2, is aimed at boosting mobile marketing and mobile wallet uptake in the UK by making it easier for brands to build and measure campaigns across networks.

Meanwhile, Google’s mobile wallet is expected to launch in the UK in the fourth quarter and Samsung announced its own service at Mobile World Congress earlier this year.

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