Skip to main content

The iPhone 6 was revealed yesterday, with the Apple Pay system. The Apple Pay System relies on NFC (near-field communications) to send payment information to a vendor. Mobile payment systems like this are intended to replace the physical wallet. Developers will be able to build apps for Apple Pay starting next month.

So what is similar to Apple Pay right now?

QR Code marketing has been utilized by companies for several years. The use of QR codes has gone up over time, but are still not in common usage. That’s partially because most phones do not come in with a built-in QR reader app, or aren’t well advertised. There are several problems with QR codes at this point, but the big one is that it is a several step process to read a QR code. Many QR codes are unreadable, and with potential customer’s short attention span, they’ll give up as soon as the code isn’t instantly read.

Passbook, another app on the iPhone, sends GPS notifications when the phone is near a retailer included in Passbook. For example, the Kroger (a grocery store chain) app can be integrated with Passbook. When a user passes their chosen Kroger, Passbook will pop up with the Kroger loyalty card so that the user can scan it at checkout. This reminds the user that they’re passing Kroger, and might encourage them to stop by and pick up groceries.

Passbook has been underutilized as a marketing tool, because it can be a hassle to integrate apps. Passbook also comes with a built-in QR code reader, but most people aren’t aware of that.

What does Apple Pay mean for direct marketing?

With NFC marketing, the user doesn’t even have to open up their phone. They can just wave their phone near the code, and the information will be automatically transferred. The code should send the user back to your webpage, blog or video. Unlike QR codes, the link can be changed at any time. If you currently have it routing toward your website, you can change it to your video.

With QR codes, you have to create a new image for every link. This is problematic if you brand all of your materials with the same QR code, and circumstances change so that you have to change a link. This means that NFC marketing is significantly more versatile as easy to use than QR codes.

Passbook could be integrated with Apple Pay, offering special discounts for customers that utilize Apple Pay during checkout. This means that Passbook will become a more effective marketing tool, and both can be used very easily on the Apple product.

NFC codes can be integrated into anything. They can go on your direct mail piece, your logo, billboards, and packages, anything you want. They could be integrated with PURLs so that when they wave their phone over the code, it goes to their specific landing page. This increases personalization, and makes direct mail even more relevant.

It’ll be exciting to see what apps are developed for Apple Pay, how it changes QR use, and how it changes the mobile marketing landscape. What do you think? Will you utilize NFC in your marketing campaign?

By: Chase Kirkwood