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Industry Media
Founded 2009
Headquarters Redwood City, California

Shopkick is an American company based 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. Kicks are also awarded by scanning product barcodes or QR Codes using a device's camera, and by making purchases, .[1] 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, JCPenney, and many others. The program is also supported by 70 brands, which currently include P&G, Unilever, Mondelez, Colgate, Revlon, Disney, Levi's and HP.[2]

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.[3] On July 23, 2013, shopkick launched in-app purchasing so that users can browse and buy products while using the app.[4]

Shopkick reached its first profitable quarter in Q4 2012, and produced $200M in revenue for its partners in 2012, and $500M in 2013[5] and was ranked the most widely used and most engaging shopping app in the real world by Nielsen in 2012.[6]

In October 2014, shopkick launched in Germany with 10 retail and brand partners nationwide and ProSiebenSat.1 as a strategic partner, in shopkick's first international expansion.[7]

Also in October 2014, shopkick was acquired for over $200M in cash by SK Planet, part of SK Group and SK Telecom, a Fortune 100 company and the mobile commerce market leader in South Korea, in the largest mobile commerce transaction to date.[8]

Early 2016, shopkick acquired the technology and team of Theneeds to support the company personalization efforts as it continues to re-imagine the shopping experience for consumers, retailers and brands.[9]


Shopkick, based in Redwood City, California (in Silicon Valley), was co-founded by Cyriac Roeding, Jeff Sellinger, and Aaron Emigh in 2009[10] and has investors that include venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, as well as Reid Hoffman (co-founder of LinkedIn Corp), and Greylock Partners.[11] The company has raised $20 million in venture funding.[12]

CEO Cyriac Roeding, founder and EVP of CBS’s mobile unit, created the concept of rewards for walking into stores while an entrepreneur-in-residence at Kleiner Perkins.[13]

The shopkick app was released in August 2010, initially with five national retail partners on board: Macy’s, Best Buy, Sports Authority and American Eagle Outfitters, and the Simon Property Group.[14]

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.[13][15] In May 2011, Crate and Barrel joined shopkick.[16] Shopkick added Old Navy, a Gap Inc. brand, to its list of retail partners in November 2011.[17] 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.[18]

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 7 cities previously, and quoted "rave reviews" as the reason to roll out nationwide.[19] 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.[20]

Sports Authority and the Sony store has joined the walk in program as well. Others sporadically participate with batches of products - including Walgreens 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.[5] 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.".[21] In 2014, shopkick announced it had driven over $1 billion in revenue for its partners, $500M of which came in the previous 12 months.

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).[6]

Retailers using shopkick say they find they can drive more customers into stores by offering additional reward points.[22] One of the partner retailers is estimating $50 million in measurable incremental revenue as a result of the shopkick mobile app.[23]

As of January 2015, shopkick had 200 brand partners, including Procter & Gamble, Disney, Mondelez, Unilever, Revlon, Coca-Cola and Pepsi.


Unlike other location-enabled applications, shopkick doesn't rely on GPS triangulation.,[24] 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.[25] 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.[23] The audio signal is broadcast through a small transmitter in the store (no internet required, just power). Shopkick also rolled out a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) presence solution (Apple iBeacon-compatible) in its audio/iBeacon hybrid called shopBeacon. With over 8,000 large stores deployed (including all Macy's and Old Navy stores), shopkick has the largest iBeacon deployment worldwide in retail as of early 2015.

Awards and Accolades[edit]

User Reviews[edit]

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.[26] 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.

Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ Courtney Banks (31 December 2010). "Top 10 Apps of ’10". The Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Retrieved 1 June 2012. 
  2. ^ Leena Rao (24 January 2012). "Location-Based Shopping App Shopkick Now 3 Million Users Strong; 1B Deals Viewed". TC Tech Crunch. AOL Inc. Retrieved 1 June 2012. 
  3. ^ STEPHANIE CLIFFORD (17 August 2010). "Aisle by Aisle, an App That Pushes Bargains". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved 1 June 2012. 
  4. ^ Lunden, Ingrid. Shopkick Adds In-App Purchases To Help Retailers Fight Amazon: ‘We Are The Anti-Amazon Coalition’. TechCrunch. July 23, 2013.
  5. ^ a b Lunden, Ingrid. "Shopkick Says It’s Now Profitable, With Its Shopping App Adding $200M In Sales For Target, Best Buy And Others In 2012". TechCrunch. Retrieved 16 January 2013. 
  6. ^ a b Lunden, Ingrid. "Nielsen On U.S. Mobile Shopping: eBay’s App Attracts The Most Users, Shopkick Keeps Them Around Longer". TechCrunch. Retrieved 6 August 2012. 
  7. ^ Weddeling, Britta. "Die Anti-Amazon-Allianz". Handelsblatt. Retrieved 23 October 2014. 
  8. ^ McMillan, Doug. "SK Telecom Agrees to Acquire Shopkick". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 27 September 2014. 
  9. ^ "Shopkick Grows Product Portfolio with Mobile Video and Pushes into Greater Shopper Personalization" (PDF). Shopkick. 
  10. ^ "CrunchBase corporate page for shopkick". CrunchBase. 
  11. ^ GEOFFREY A. FOWLER (31 January 2011). "Mobile Apps Drawing in Shoppers, Marketers". The Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Retrieved 1 June 2012. 
  12. ^ Kara Swisher (16 November 2010). "Shopkick Checks In With Target – CEO Cyriac Roeding Talks About Social Shopping". Dow Jones & Company Inc. Retrieved 1 June 2012. 
  13. ^ a b "Shopkick Checks In With Target–CEO Cyriac Roeding Talks About Social Shopping - Kara Swisher - News". AllThingsD. 2010-11-16. Retrieved 2013-10-25. 
  14. ^ Clifford, Stephanie (17 August 2010). "Shopkick App Pushes Bargains, Aisle by Aisle". The New York Times. 
  15. ^ Tobi Elkin (22 November 2010). "Shopkick App Lands Big Fish: Target and The Wet Seal". The E Marketer Blog. eMarketer Inc. Retrieved 1 June 2012. 
  16. ^ Fowler, Geoffrey A. (21 April 2010). "Retailers Reach Out on Cellphones". The Wall Street Journal. 
  17. ^ "Old Navy doles out deals to Shopkick app users". VentureBeat. 2011-11-09. Retrieved 2013-10-25. 
  18. ^ "Mobile Commerce Technology - Shopkick steps on the gas with its latest promotion". Internet Retailer. 2013-09-25. Retrieved 2013-10-25. 
  19. ^ Ha, Anthony. May 23rd, 2012. "Target Rolls Out Shopkick Integration Nationwide."
  20. ^ Perez, Sarah. "Location-Based Shopping App Shopkick Partners With MasterCard On Rewards Program". TechCrunch. Retrieved 30 June 2012. 
  21. ^ Graham, Jeff (24 October 2012). "American Eagle Outfitters rolls out shopkick in all of its U.S. stores". USA Today. Retrieved 25 October 2012. 
  22. ^ Fowler, Geoffrey A. (31 January 2011). "Mobile Apps Drawing in Shoppers, Marketers". The Wall Street Journal. 
  23. ^ a b "Location-Based Shopping App Shopkick Now 3 Million Users Strong; 1B Deals Viewed". TechCrunch. 2012-01-24. Retrieved 2013-10-25. 
  24. ^ Jason Ankeny (2011-02-22). "Innovator: Shopkick's Cyriac Roeding Reinvents Retail". Retrieved 2013-10-25. 
  25. ^ Banks, Courtney (31 December 2010). "Top 10 Apps of '10". The Wall Street Journal. 
  26. ^ "shopkick on the App Store on iTunes". Retrieved 19 January 2014. 

External links[edit]