Shopkick is a company in Silicon Valley that created a shopping app for smartphones and tablets that offers customers rewards for walking into stores. It uses points called “kicks” which are usually awarded when users walk into participating stores. There are still some kinks in the system and you may have to contact customer care for the walk-in portion. Kicks are also awarded by scanning product barcodes or QR Codes using a device's camera, and by making purchases, . The app is currently available for iOS (both iPhone and iPad) and Android devices.
Kicks can be redeemed for various rewards such as gift cards, iTunes song downloads, movie tickets, and Facebook Credits, among others. Rewards are relatively low. The first prize level consists of $2 for various retailers like Amazon, Target, etc. Users can also receive special discounts on specific products at specific stores. Partner stores currently include Target, Best Buy, Macy’s, Crate & Barrel, Old Navy, American Eagle Outfitters, Sports Authority, Toys R Us, and Simon Malls. The program is also supported by 70 brands, which currently include P&G, Unilever, Mondelez, Colgate, Revlon, Disney, Levi's and HP.
Shopkick receives a fee for each kick a customer earns. If a customer buys something after using the app, shopkick gets a percentage of the price. On July 23, 2013, shopkick launched in-app purchasing so that users can browse and buy products while using the app.
Shopkick reached its first profitable quarter in Q4 2012, and produced $200M in revenue for its partners in 2012, and was ranked the most widely used and most engaging shopping app in the real world by Nielsen in 2012.
Shopkick, based in Redwood City, California (in Silicon Valley), has investors that include venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, as well as Reid Hoffman (co-founder of LinkedIn Corp), and Greylock Partners. The company has raised $20 million in venture funding.
In November 2010, Shopkick announced it had added Target to its list of retailers deploying its platform and mobile app. Target also offers scannable mobile coupons to customers for redemption at checkout. In May 2011, Crate and Barrel joined Shopkick. Shopkick added Old Navy, a Gap Inc. brand, to its list of retail partners in November 2011. Shopkick and ExxonMobil partnered in April 2012 to give mobile reward to customers at more than 375 gas stations in Miami, New York and Washington, D.C.
In May 2012, Target announced it would be integrating all 1,764 of their stores nationwide with shopkick. Target was testing out the app with their stores in seven cities previously, and quoted "rave reviews" as the reason to roll out nationwide. American Eagle also rolled out shopkick nationwide to all its 1,000 stores. Mastercard announced a partnership with shopkick in July 2012 that will allow their cardholders to earn “kicks” by linking their card with shopkick’s Buy & Collect program.
Sports Authority and the Sony store has joined the walk in program as well. Office Depot participates on a limited basis - only a few locations are included. Others sporadically participate with batches of products - including Walgreen's with scans of their private label and the Verizon Wireless stores. However, this participation is usually only for limited intervals.
Shopkick drove $200M in revenue for its partners in 2012, and reached its first profitable quarter in Q4 2012. American Eagle's EVP Fred Grover said "Our Shopkick customers buy twice as often as a non-Shopkick user and have helped increase in-store traffic.".
Nielsen ranked shopkick as the most widely used shopping app in the real world in 2012 (more than any physical retailers' own apps), and as the most engaging shopping app (min spent/user).
Retailers using shopkick say they find they can drive more customers into stores by offering additional reward points. One of the partner retailers is estimating $50 million in measurable incremental revenue as a result of the shopkick mobile app.
Unlike other location-enabled applications, Shopkick doesn't rely on GPS triangulation., because GPS is too inaccurate to detect true presence of consumers in stores. Instead, shopkick created a highly accurate inaudible audio signal that is unique to each store that can be detected by smartphone users who have the shopkick app installed, when the app is open. Once a shopkick Signal is detected, the app delivers reward points called “kicks” to the user for walking into a retail store, trying on clothes, scanning a barcode and other actions. The audio signal is either broadcast through a small transmitter in the store (no internet required, just power), or played directly through the stores' existing music system.
Locations that use existing speakers often cause users difficulties getting their walk in visits due to the weaker signal - creating ill will for the visiting customers. (e.g. Macys)
Awards and Accolades
- World Economic Forum, Tech Pioneer 2013: http://www.weforum.org/videos/technology-pioneer-2013-cyriac-roeding-shopkick
- The Wall Street Journal, Top 10 Apps of 2010: http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2010/12/31/the-top-ten-iphone-and-android-apps-of-2010/
- Fast Company, World’s 10 Most Innovative Companies in Retail: http://www.fastcompany.com/1738961/the-10-most-innovative-companies-in-retail
- Mashable, Top 10 Apps to Watch in 2011: http://mashable.com/2011/01/04/10-apps-to-watch-in-2011/
- TechCrunch, 2011 Crunchie Award runner up in the Best Social Commerce App category
- Target’s Best of the Bullseye Award for partner excellence
The fourth version of the app, released on October 30, saw a sharp decline in user satisfaction, with the newest version drawing less than four stars among user reviews in the Apple App Store. Many users have complained that Shopkick will deactivate accounts and prevent users from cashing in their kicks. It's unclear what happens to the data and who actually benefits from these situations. Retailers and manufacturers generally participate in these programs because they are trying to build customer satisfaction. Users would argue that this practice defeats the purpose.
- Wall Street Journal, “Mobile Apps Drawing in Shoppers, Marketers,” http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704832704576114362123713314.html
- New York Times, “Visa and Shopkick Give Rewards for Making Purchases,” http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/11/21/visa-and-shopkick-give-rewards-for-making-purchases/
- Wall Street Journal, “Top 10 Apps of ‘10,” http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2010/12/31/the-top-ten-iphone-and-android-apps-of-2010/?KEYWORDS=shopkick
- Tech Crunch, “Location-Based Shopping App Shopkick Now 3 Million Users Strong; 1B Deals Viewed,” http://techcrunch.com/2012/01/24/location-based-shopping-app-shopkick-now-3-million-users-strong/
- International Business Times, “Shopkick Delivers $110M Revenue in 2011; App Offers Hope for U.S. Retail Sector,” http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/290478/20120131/shopkick-110m-revenue-app-kick-retailer-sector.htm
- Entrepreneur, “Innovator: Shopkick's Cyriac Roeding Reinvents Retail,” http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/218157
- New York Times, “Aisle by Aisle, an App That Pushes Bargains,” http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/17/technology/17app.html?_r=1
- Wall Street Journal, “Retailers Reach Out on Cellphones,” http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703763904575196221941772404.html
- AdWeek, “Shopkick Partners With Crate & Barrel,” http://www.adweek.com/news/technology/shopkick-partners-crate-barrel-131411
- Internet Retailer, “Shopkick steps on the gas with its latest promotion,” http://www.internetretailer.com/2012/04/05/shopkick-steps-gas-its-latest-promotion
- WWD, “InStyle Teams Up with Shopkick,” http://www.wwd.com/fashion-blogs/instyle_teams_up_with_shopkick-11-08
- VentureBeat, “Old Navy doles out deals to Shopkick app users,” http://venturebeat.com/2011/11/09/shopkick-old-navy-partnership/
- AllThingsD, “Shopkick Checks In With Target,” http://allthingsd.com/20101116/shopkick-checks-in-with-target-ceo-cyriac-roeding-talks-about-social-shopping/
- eMarketer, “Shopkick App Lands Big Fish: Target and The Wet Seal,” http://www.emarketer.com/blog/index.php/shopkick-app-lands-big-fish-target-wet-seal/
- Toys "R" Us, “A reward for showing up,” http://www.internetretailer.com/commentary/2011/10/05/reward-showing
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- "Old Navy doles out deals to Shopkick app users". VentureBeat. 2011-11-09. Retrieved 2013-10-25.
- "Mobile Commerce Technology - Shopkick steps on the gas with its latest promotion". Internet Retailer. 2013-09-25. Retrieved 2013-10-25.
- Ha, Anthony. May 23rd, 2012. "Target Rolls Out Shopkick Integration Nationwide." http://techcrunch.com/2012/05/23/target-shopkick/
- Perez, Sarah. "Location-Based Shopping App Shopkick Partners With MasterCard On Rewards Program". TechCrunch. Retrieved 30 June 2012.
- Graham, Jeff (24 October 2012). "American Eagle Outfitters rolls out shopkick in all of its U.S. stores". USA Today. Retrieved 25 October 2012.
- Fowler, Geoffrey A. (31 January 2011). "Mobile Apps Drawing in Shoppers, Marketers". The Wall Street Journal.
- "Location-Based Shopping App Shopkick Now 3 Million Users Strong; 1B Deals Viewed". TechCrunch. 2012-01-24. Retrieved 2013-10-25.
- Jason Ankeny (2011-02-22). "Innovator: Shopkick's Cyriac Roeding Reinvents Retail". Entrepreneur.com. Retrieved 2013-10-25.
- Banks, Courtney (31 December 2010). "Top 10 Apps of '10". The Wall Street Journal.
- Duryee, Tricia. "Macy’s Using Shopkick Mobile Rewards App Nationwide". TechCrunch. Retrieved 18 July 2012. See also: US patent 8,558,666 Location detection, filed December 31, 2009.
- "shopkick on the App Store on iTunes". itunes.apple.com. Retrieved 19 January 2014.