App rewards users for walking into stores
Mobile services provider Shopkick has launched an iPhone app that will enable retailers know when shoppers enter their store and to reward them with points or discounts.
The US company says its location-based app differs from competitors like Foursquare, Gowalla and Loopt, which use a cellphone’s GPS signal and can be used to check into a a retailer and earn points without visiting if they are within 300 meters of a location.
“Check-ins are a really nice start, but unfortunately, most of them are fake,” said Cyriac Roeding, a founder of Shopkick, which will roll its app out onto other mobile devices after the iPhone launch in the next few weeks.
Instead of relying on GPS or Wi-Fi signals, Shopkick installs small devices in stores that send out an inaudible noise. Cellphones with the Shopkick app pick it up with their microphones.
Participating stores, which so far include Best Buy in San Francisco and Macy’s, can offer personalized discounts. Customers redeem them at the cash register by giving the assistant their cellphone number. Shoppers also earn points, which Shopkick for entering a store, even if they do not make a purchase. These are redeemable for a variety of things, including gift cards, Facebook credits and Napster song downloads.
How Shopkick works
Consumers choose to download the free “shopkick” mobile application for their smart phones. (The “shopkick” app for iPhone will be available in the coming weeks on the App Store, followed by apps for additional smart phones.) When the “shopkick” app is open on the smart phone, it detects the “shopkick Signal” technology installed in the retail location as the consumer walks through the door, and the shopper instantly receives rewards, called “kickbucks.” Because the detection occurs on the consumer’s phone, the privacy of presence information is completely under the user’s control.