Shopkick gives multichannel experience a kick!

Author: Brice Le Blévennec

It was hard to miss the launch of Shopkick (New York Times, Techcrunch or KNTV Press Here).

This mobile application, now available on iPhone and soon on Android, allows you to gather points, called kickbucks, for each action you do (enter a store, scan a product) and to receive promotions in the store.

At first, it seems quite a traditional concept: gain customer knowledge to offer a better service and offer an incentive in the point-of-sale for the supplier, whereas the customer benefits from promotions.

Nothing new so far: this is the same as we have seen in LBSN (Location-based Social Networks).

However, Shopkick is different from its competitors…

– Automatic check-in
Unlike services such as Foursquare or Gowalla, you don’t need to take your phone in order to gain points. There are terminals at the entrance of the store and the customer only has to enter the store in order to be registered. Thanks to this technique, the application is very easy to use and it’s not possible to cheat. All data are precise but of course, this raises questions about privacy.

– Partnerships with store chains
The downside of this technique is that it requires the installation of terminals and that there’s a need to set up partnerships with the stores. But Shopkick has successfully tackled this. It has set up partnerships with Best Buy (1150 stores), Macy’s (800 stores), American Eagle (1100 stores), Sports Authority (460 stores) and malls in the regions of New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago.

– The secret weapon: CauseWorld

The company had to approach retailers but CauseWorld has allowed them to check out brands as well. The idea is to win points (karmas), each time a user uses his mobile phone to scan a product of one of the partner brands. The user can give points that are then transformed into money which is given to charities.

Whereas Shopkick has no social functionalities, the CauseWorld user can publish causes or associations he supports on his different social networks. We will attentively follow the download numbers of Shopkick, which will not only seduce geeks but will also win the hearts of soccer moms who want to manage their budget.

In less than 5 months, CauseWorld has been downloaded 550 000 times and it is said to have generated almost 1 million dollars in donations.

by Olivier Legris

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