What is the difference between online and offline scanning?

“Online scanning” means that passes are updated in real time when they are scanned. This can be done with or without a POS integration - with smart devices for example. 

“Offline scanning” however refers to the action of scanning a pass but the updates to the pass are not seen in real-time, instead updates are “pushed” to the pass at a later stage. The option may be considered for those instances where there is no active internet action, where speed of the redemption process is a critical factor for the user experience and/or where updates shown on the passes in real time is not crucial.

For example, if the pass were to be used in a similar fashion to how a supermarket item is scanned at the checkout, the process of scanning here could be to update a local database record, then at a later stage updates to all of the scanned passes can be done by batch processing or “offline”.

Considerations 

Online scanning: Whilst “online” scanning provides the most engaging user experience it also requires a larger implementation investment particularly if you want to integrate with your POS systems. Even without POS integration you may still need to invest in some handheld tablets or handheld scanners to provide your staff to do the redemption. In addition, you will also need to conduct staff training on how to redeem.

Offline scanning: “offline” scanning also had its own advantages, but you may need to ensure that there are additional verification processes in place to prevent customers from trying to redeem the offer more than once before your batch processing exercise show updates to the passes

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