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The Apple 5 – Our Best Bet for Clipping and Saving Trust?

Of the many features the sold-out Apple 5 can offer, one of the most compelling for the consumer is this: It eliminates the clip-and-save.

I am talking about coupons, of course, which is at the heart of what Apple’s Passbook offers. Sure, Passbook is a digital wallet, created to go head-to-head with Google Wallet, but it also may deliver what AdWeek recently described as “the long-ballyhooed, shop-with-your-phone, mobile-coupon-future many have been dreaming of.”

In other words, merchants can code their Passbook offers and deliver them via email, Web or within their brand apps, linking them to store locations. As the consumer nears the coordinates of one of these locations, Passbook can send coupons or redemption reminders.

Sounds great, right? Many members of the marketing industry feel so. But what really matters is how consumers feel about this technology.

And there’s the rub, because what consumers say and what they do is not always the same.

For instance, in a June 2012 survey of 2,000 U.S. and Canadian consumers by LoyaltyOne, respondents told us they are highly reluctant to be tracked via mobile. Only 15 percent of survey respondents said they would be willing to share their exact location via smartphone. That is about the same percentage of people who said they’d be willing to share the number of sexual partners they have had.

Yet people are regularly checking into location-based apps, such as Foursquare or Gowalla, and apparently by the millions. Foursquare alone is reported to have 20 million registered users, though it is hard to determine how many are active.

So will Apple 5’s potential ability to push offers pull in the transactions, as marketers hope? The company’s brand integrity may certainly give it an edge over newcomers.

But in the end, the success of mobile couponing depends on our ability to build trust with consumers. And that trust, our survey shows, is not growing.

To learn more about the study, click here.

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