Shopkick Redesigns Rewards App to Bridge At-Home Browsing With In-Store Buys

Today Palo Alto, CA-based shopkick, a mobile rewards and loyalty app for brick-and-mortar retailers, announced a redesign of its app to focus on tying at-home browsing to in-store purchases. The company’s app lets users build up points, or “kicks,” as they shop in over 7,000 partner retailer stores across the U.S., including Target, American Eagle and Macy’s, which they can then redeem for in-store rewards.

Shopkick has been downloaded over 3.5 million times since it launched in 2009, and it gives retailers a way to engage with and reward shoppers who not only buy their items, but simply step inside their stores. The redesigned shopkick app features Lookbooks, catalogue-style collections of items categorized by store or by brand, which users can browse at home before they go shopping. As they browse, shoppers can earn points, ‘fave’ the products they want, and when they walk into a store that carries that item, they’ll receive a push notification letting them know it’s available.

Users earn kicks by browsing items and visiting stores, and they can also connect their credit card to earn more points when they buy, the result of partnerships with Visa and MasterCard. The company has also partnered with over 50 brands including Unilever, Kraft, and Colgate, so in addition to partner retailers, users can earn kicks by scanning those products in over 250,000 stores in the U.S.

Alexis Rask, shopkick’s VP and GM of Brand Partnerships, said in an interview that the redesigned app is based on the data they’ve collected over the last two years. Their data showed that the majority of the time, shopkick users are at home when they’re using the app, so Rask said they wanted to create “a full arc from the couch to the store.” “There aren’t a lot of platforms or a lot of applications that consumers actual use in both places, at home and in-store, and what we found is that shopkick was used that way,” Rask said. “What we knew we needed more of was couch mode…that would inform the store visit.”

To date the company has 13 retail partners in total, and in the 7,000 locations in the U.S. users have logged more than 20 million interactions with over 50 products. The company is also reporting today that every shopkick user uses the app over three hours per month, and according to Nielsen data it was the fourth most widely used shopping app in June 2012 after eBay, Amazon and Groupon.

The mobile loyalty space is heating up, with standalone loyalty apps like shopkick and Apple’s new Passbook app, as well as loyalty built into almost every available mobile payments solution, from Google Wallet through Google Offers, to Square Wallet and LevelUp. The new Lookbooks feature is also similar to Facebook Collections, which was announced in early October, though Facebook users can click through to buy items online, whereas shopkick is more focused on in-store purchases (and Rask said it will be for the foreseeable future).

Rask said they see Apple’s Passbook app as a potential integration partner, rather than a competitor. “We’re extremely excited about Passbook as a way to bring the mobile wallet to more consumers,” Rask said. “We think that Passbook is a good thing for everyone in the space.”

With retailers increasingly trying to build their ecommerce presence,  there’s a big focus on getting customers to browse and buy online. But Rask said retailers still need to cater to in-store shoppers, and to find a way to connect online and offline. “There’s very very few players, and shopkick is the only one I can think of, that has such a connection at home but then carries through to the actual physical world experience,” she said. “Brick-and-mortar retail is still an enormous industry, and we think we make that experience better for shoppers.”

Erin Bury

Erin Bury

Erin has covered startups and technology for over three years in publications including Sprouter Weekly, The Globe and Mail, Business Insider, Mashable, and VentureBeat. She also writes a regular startup column for the Financial Post, and is a technology expert on CTV News Channel. Before BetaKit Erin worked as Director of Content & Communications at Sprouter from its launch in 2009 until its acquisition by Postmedia Network Inc. She was recently named one of Marketing Magazine's 30 Under 30 in 2012.

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