Mobile Loyalty Within the Store: An In-Depth Look at ShopKick

Yesterday, Macy’s extended its partnership with the mobile rewards service, ShopKick, and rolled out the program to the entire network of stores nationwide. Now when customers walk into any Macy’s, they can open up the ShopKick app on an iPhone or Android phone and complete tasks to earn “Kicks”, a point system that customers can redeem for retail gift cards or other rewards. So, yesterday I went to a nearby Macy’s and gave the app a quick test run to reacquaint myself with the service. Here’s how it works:

Initial shopper engagement
Unlike other location-based services that leverage WiFi, GPS, RFID, or NFC in order to pinpoint a user’s location, ShopKick uses a unique audio signal in every store to verify your actual location. The ShopKick team customized their own hardware, which stores need to implement for the service to work, but Macy’s has a slightly different story. The department store can pipe the ShopKick audio signal directly through a music system already in place, powered by Mood Media Corporation. This decreases overall set-up installation time along with decreasing costs.

When I arrived at Macy’s, I opened ShopKick and the app immediately recognized my location and rewarded me 200 Kicks just for being in the store. This level of instant engagement helps create a “stickiness” factor, piquing the customer’s attention and getting them to explore more challenges within the store. Additionally, it’s important to note that the number of points received in this initial engagement is much higher than scanning challenges throughout the store. ShopKick is emphasizing that initial contact to get users interested.

Challenges within the store
Once I collected the initial rewards, I took a look at some of the challenges that could help me earn more points (I was still a few hundred points away from some rewards that interest me). Most of the challenges for this particular store involve scanning home items such as bath rugs, coffee makers, and hangers. While I didn’t have a particular need for these products when I entered the store, it did get me thinking about my move in the fall and what I might need to stock up on. Steering customer’s attention within the store using a mobile application can be difficult, but ShopKick has built a platform that allows for that to happen. What will be interesting to see is if the app will get to know the user based on scans, or even purchase history, and have them interact with products they are more apt to purchase.

Redeeming Rewards
After scanning a few items and receiving a few more Kicks, I wanted to see how redemption worked. Since I only had enough Kicks for certain offers, I donated to American Humane, a process that took two clicks (see images below). If customers are interested in store offers, the redemption process involves bringing the item to checkout and either presenting a unique code or your cell phone number (ShopKick identifier) for redemption. Users have different reward options and do not have to redeem something that is store specific. They can browse the rewards gallery and choose based on interest. Rewards might be as little as 25 Kicks (Facebook Currency) all they way up to 6.25 million Kicks for an Around The World Trip on Princess Cruises (seriously).

We are still in the beginning phases of mobile loyalty and rewards programs used as tools within stores. According to Pew Internet, only 10% of all adults use a geosocial or “check-in” service and just 18% of all Smartphone owners use the service. But with ease of use, ubiquity, personalization, and relevancy to the end user, these applications can become a strong engagement tool as part of the in-store shopping experience.

About justin

Justin is an Analyst with RNG, covering Ecommerce and emerging technology trends and their effects on the digital landscape of retailing. Prior to joining RNG, Justin was an Emerging Technology Analyst at TowerGroup, covering mobile payments, mobile banking, and social media trends as well as a Business Content Producer at a new media startup, Streetwise Media. Justin graduated from Franklin & Marshall College with a dual degree in Economics and Latin and his hobbies include traveling and sports.

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