What: Shopkick, it seems, is the next logical step in the mobile computing revolution and the emergence of geo-location commerce. Launched on August 17, the iPhone application allows users to gain "kickbucks" by visiting partner retailers and checking out certain products or, for example, trying on clothes. The company and application was founded by former Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers entrepreneur-in-residence Cyriac Roeding.
How: The Shopkick application is downloaded to the iPhone. A device signal on the phone, and a separate one in the actual store, let's a retailer know when you are physically in the shop. A partner retailer can reward you with kickbucks, the currency of Shopkick, just for visiting a store.
Using an iPhone, the customer can scan items and also receive kickbucks. The currency is redeemable in the store or other Shopkick partner retailers.
Why: The application is a tool to get people in stores and check out gear, and then reward them for doing so. For partner retailers who sign up, the application can act as a communications tool for promotions, branding, and customer engagement. For shoppers, the application acts as an incentive to get up close with products inside stores.
"It's such a fun little app to check in at stores and see what kind of deals you can get," says Elizabeth Aley, a volunteer, stay-at-home mother, and Shopkick user. "It has many uses and a wide demographic."
Who: So far, a handful of brands have partnered with Shopkick, including Best Buy, Sports Authority, and American Eagle Outfitters.
Holly Thomas, national VP of media relations and cause marketing at Macy's, says the department store chain has been very proactive and progressive in the digital and mobile space, especially over the past year. "Our recent August launch with Shopkick garnered extensive media attention," she says.