We're very proud to announce the first of a series of technology upgrades for coupon passes.
Starting tomorrow, all "in store" or local coupons will be tagged automatically with up to 10 locations for that store or chain. These coupons automatically pop up on the lock screen of the phone when the iPhone user gets near that store. Also, those locations are listed on the back of the pass -- just tap any location to see it on the map (handy for navigating). This feature obviously only applies to "in-store" coupons.
Q: How does it work?
A: When you ask to download an in-store coupon, the system will ask you for your location. If you allow this, we then find the closest locations for that retail brand, within 25 kilometers (about 15 miles) or your current location. We embed these locations in your pass. When you are within 50 yards or so of any of those "tagged" stores, a message will pop up on your lock screen that shows your pass...and if you swipe that message, the phone instantly displays that pass.
Q: What are the limitations?
A: Remember that GPS isn't a perfect science. Not all phones will accurately detect location especially large stores and indoors locations, multiple floors, etc. But it's really pretty darned good. Note also that only 1 coupon at a time will show on your lock screen ... this is how the Passbook system works.
Q: Do you get any of my private information?
A: The only thing we get is your latitude and longitude coordinates. Note that "Passbook Based" systems like ours are inherently more anonymous and less intrusive that almost any other mobile technology, because we don't need to ask for email addresses or other log-in information, yet we can still provide a highly personalized service.
Q: How do I opt-out of this feature?
A: No problem. When the system asks "Is it OK if we use your location" just answer "no". The pass will be created as always, but without the info.
Q: You have mostly online coupons, not in-store coupons, so what's the point of all this?
A: Actually this is exactly to the point. We believe the fastest way to grow the Passbook ecosystem is to serve merchant's entire inventory of coupons -- online and in-store -- and then show those merchants an easy way to upgrade all those coupons to full bar-code Passes. In this way we create the maximum possible choice for consumers, and an easy, large-scale upgrade path which is worth the time of the merchants. And also we do this with beautiful passes which get much more attention from users.
More information and step-by-step instructions coming soon!