Thursday, September 20, 2012

"Shopkick:" the Spark to a Retail Revolution published an article about a interactive shopping “app” for smartphones called "Shopkick."

The article documents Aaron Emigh, Shopkick’s Chief Technology Officer, challenge with the task of figuring how to locate customers in the store accurately. In an article from, the CEO and Founder of Shopkick states, “If you want to reward someone for walking in your store, you cannot use GPS. It's way too inaccurate. There's an error radius of about 500 yards, meaning I still don't know if you're inside the store, out in the parking lot or across the street at a competitor” (Ankeny). Emigh developed an innovative software that produced an audio signal that directly connects to a smartphone with the Shopkick app open. Automatically, the retail stores using Shopkick software knows when a Shopkick customer is in the store. Shopkick rewards customers with “Shopbuck” for walking into the store, scanning recommended items, and buying a product with a Visa card. 

The groundbreaking use of sound waves allows Shopkick to enhance their spectrum of information regarding consumer activity. Commonly, companies that use data mining use the information gathered from RDIFs. Unfortunately, the scope of information gathered from RDIFs rely on a customer’s use of the RDIF such as swiping a credit card. The unique aspect of Shopkicks software is its recognition of a Shopkick user’s general presence in the store. The Shopbucks given out at participating stores gives costumers an incentive to shop at one store over another. “Sports Authority, for example, was able to get 50-70 percent more walk-ins by increasing the amount of kicks it awarded to Shopkick users. By ensuring that a consumer is present, the app allows merchants to engage directly with their customers, and to reach out to them with offers and rewards based on loyalty” (Kim).

The valuable information gathered about consumer shopping patterns will allow for more sophisticated data mining to take place.The business intelligence side of participating retail corporations will depend on the data Shopkick records, and they will be able to use that data to create business strategies to focus on optimizing revenue. The possibility of being able to predict when, where, and what people will buy will cause a wave of companies to convert to Shopkick. 

To expand their network of companies, Shopkick is targeting smaller businesses by decreasing costs of the hardware. “In a deal with Shopkick investor Citi, the company is offering free installation of Shopkick signal boxes at 1,000 stores owned by local merchants” (Kim). Shopkick plans to continue their expansion to interconnect all consumer stores of all sizes and encourage a revival in retail shopping. 


1 comment:

  1. Shopkick is a wonderful marketing IT device. The software can get more people into stores and buying things. Rewards programs have been proven to grow businesses and attract new customers. This software could help stores market to individuals that are all customers of their store. It can also collect data on who is buying what for marketing companies. The rewards would also entice people to go to a certain store more often to collect the points.
    There is a similar program at the Giant on York Rd. You scan your products with this machine and carry it with you around the store. Each scanner gets coupons sent to them. Using tracking devices the scanners can tell where they are and receive a coupon for that isle or area. This is a good way for Giant to move products and charge companies to have their coupons included. If Shopkick could implement coupons for certain isle in the store itself it would make their marketing even more effective.
    This device could also be implemented in shopping centers or malls. A person could be given rewards and deals for each store to attract people to different store in the mall. If a mall charged higher rent for stores to partake in the rewards system, they would earn more money. Stores would also see more people coming into their stores with this software.
    If Shopkick up scaled this device they could potentially do it for an entire town. When people are driving around they can receive coupons for restaurants and stores that they are driving near. It could create a new way to market to people, and for small businesses to market locally.
    John has an interesting point when he talks about the information they gather. I agree it is valuable. Shopkick could earn more money by selling this information to marketing firms and companies. This would increase their revenues greatly. Information is very valuable.