Earlier this week, Boston’s commuter rail system announced plans for a program that will allow riders to purchase tickets right on their iPhones and display a scannable code as proof of purchase. The model follows the success that Starbucks has had in using its iPhone app as a virtual gift card.
Not to be outdone, drugstore and pharmacy chain CVS recently added similar functionality to its CVS Pharmacy app.
As noted by NFC News, CVS is adding a virtual loyalty card option to its iPhone app that will allow customers to do away with a physical card. The CVS Pharmacy app already allowed users to refill and manage prescriptions, find stores, browse weekly sales, and manage the rewards associated with the company’s ExtraCare loyalty program. The new release also allows you to snap a picture of your card and store it directly in the app for easy scanning.
The use of loyalty programs by CVS and other retail outlets have led to an overall glut of cards for most people to carry in their wallet or on their keyring. As a result, there are several loyalty card apps available for iOS devices that let users store snapshots of their cards – the free CardStar being one of the simplest and most popular.
What’s particularly interesting about CVS jumping on the virtual card bandwagon is that the company is integrating that feature into a well-designed app which offers users several other conveniences – creating a micro-ecosystem for its customers that offers more value than just a virtual loyalty card. It will be interesting to see if other retailers follow this lead.