Shopkick, the mobile rewards check-in app that allows registered users to earn points for simply walking through a retailer’s doors or scanning bar codes, has signed its first deal to reward shoppers for actually buying selected CPG products at a grocery chain.
The partnership with the Giant Eagle Supermarket chain will let Eagle customers who belong to Eagle’s loyalty card program input their account number to get started. After that, every time they enter one of Eagle’s 228 stores, they will receive a notice that purchase-based rewards, or “Kickbuys”, are available in that store, and can see a list of the products in the offer. If they buy any of those products, their Shopkick account will then be credited with a specified number of “Kickbucks”.
Kickbucks from across the range of retailers using the Shopkick platform can be saved and used to buy song downloads, movie tickets, travel vouchers or Facebook Credits. They can also be donated to one of 30 different charities.
Initial brand partners in the Giant Eagle offers include Procter & Gamble, Unilever and Kraft Foods.
“In the past, we’ve rewarded users for walking into stores or engaging with products, picking them up and scanning them,” says Jeff Sellinger, Shopkick co-founder. “Now we can actually reward them for purchasing those products. It’s a new way to earn points by buying some of your favorite grocery products or trying new ones.”
“We believe Shopkick’s location-based shopping app is a valuable addition to our growing array of mobile customer offerings, led by our Giant Eagle app and eOffers digital coupon program,” Giant Eagle spokesman Rob Borella said in a release. “Much like our Fuelperks! and Foodperks! customer loyalty programs, Kickbuys are another unique way for customers to be rewarded for shopping in our stores.”
The deal is another innovative step for Shopkick, which uses a smartphone app and an audio signal to register users’ presence and induce them to perform actions such as scanning barcodes. Last May, Shopkick rolled out a deal with the CW TV network. Viewers would be alerted to open their app just before a commercial block. Shopkick’s signal detector would sense they wre watching a TV spot from a participating advertiser and automatically push deals to their phones, in an attempt to drive them in-store.
The ability to link a user’s Shopkick account to a grocery rewards program allows the Kickbucks points to be awarded automatically without cumbersome scans at the checkout counter. In theory, the same system could eventually be put in place in general retail stores, many of which also have loyalty programs. But implementing Kickbuys in supermarkets holds out the promise of involving big CPG manufacturers in the platform—many of whom are more interested in offering loyalty rewards for actual purchases than in running coupons as incentives.
“We’ve created a group of offers [for the Shopkick platform at Giant Eagle], and we’re testing a variety of offers to determine what’s most relevant and what the consumer is engaging with the most, says Ed Kaczmarek, director of innovation and consumer experience at Kraft Foods. “We’ll be doing an average of five offers every two weeks across all the Giant Eagle stores.”
Some of the products integrated into the Shopkick/ Giant Eagle offers will be new or recent launches, such as Kraft Brands’ line of Mio water enhancers and Velveeta Cheesy Skillets. “We think the Shopkick platform is an excellent tool for new product awareness and trial,” Kaczmarek says.
Speaking at Shopper Marketing Expo in Chicago last week, Kaczmarek said the automatic nature of the Shopkick app made amassing rewards easy and game-like, and more valuable to consumers than a straight grocery-only reward since they could combine those points with earnings at other Shopkick at retailers such as American Eagle, Best Buy, and Macy’s. And getting a notification of those rewards—anywhere from 15 minutes to 24 hours after the purchase, depending on the merchant’s POS capabilities—was an extra occasion for “surprising and delighting” shoppers, Kaczmarek added.
Kraft has been partnering with Shopkick for in-store promotions for about a year, almost as long as the mobile company has been in business. Until now, those campaigns involved simply finding specific Kraft products in participating stores and scanning their bar codes. For example, a promotion last year asked shoppers to scan three items via Shopkick—Kraft mayonnaise with olive oil, Kraft cheese and Deli Fresh cold cuts– and “make” a virtual sandwich to receive 25 Kickbucks in reward for completing the mission.
Palo Alto CA-base Shopkick reports that its app, for both iPhone and Android, has been downloaded by 2.4 million users since it launched in mid-2010, and has been used to date to scan more than 7 million products in all 50 states. According to the company, between 30% and 40% of those downloads are by users active enough to open the app monthly.