Backstage

Shopkick

As 2013 draws to a close, we look forward to a bright new year by sitting down with some of the tech industry’s rising stars for a glimpse at where social innovation is headed. Shopkick is an innovative new mobile application that rewards users with points, or “kicks,” simply by walking into stores. Shopkick CEO Cyriac Roeding shares his perspective on why an application like Shopkick is needed in the market, how technology has changed the landscape of shopping and his thoughts on what shopping will look like in 10 years.

Give us an overview of how Shopkick works.


Shopkick rewards you with points, or “kicks,” for simply walking into a store and scanning items from partner brands. The app presents users with exclusive offers as well. Kicks can be redeemed for items like gift cards, song downloads, donations to charity and more. Kicks can also be used for other offers in Shopkick’s in-app Rewards Mall. Shopkick takes much less effort than traditional savings tools—all you need to do is open the app while shopping!

Where did the idea for Shopkick come from?


Shopkick is my third mobile company. I co-founded my first one 14 years ago. After that, I spent time figuring out what makes mobile so unique as a media platform. I finally realized that mobile phones are special because they are the only interactive platform that you carry with you when you’re in a non-interactive, physical environment like a store. One problem every retailer has is gaining foot traffic. It then occurred to me: if foot traffic is so important in retail, why don’t retailers reward customers just for walking into a store? The simple answer is because no one knows that you’re at a store until you buy something…that is, until we founded Shopkick.

How does Shopkick benefit retailers?


Shopkick partners with retailers to build a powerful cross-retailer “coalition loyalty program.” It is the only rewards program where multiple retailers use the same currency to offer rewards—kicks. You can be rewarded with kicks from one retailer and then redeem your points elsewhere.

For retailers, Shopkick brings more informed shoppers to the store. Seven-seven percent of users viewed products in the Shopkick app before even visiting a store during Black Friday. They come to the store not just for discounts, but also for the items they already know they love and will most likely buy.

How has technology changed the way we shop?


We believe that mobile is the number-one marketing medium for physical retailers. Stores now have the ability to provide customers with a rewarding and interactive experience. Rewarding customers for actually walking into your store is a tremendous opportunity. With that said, the role of a store is completely changing. Shoppers no longer need stores to be warehouses with shelves and items to throw into a basket—they have Amazon for that. Now I can use the power of my smartphone to make my in-store experience a better one, and that's where Shopkick comes in. We want to help personalize the shopping experience and to create additional incentives to shop in-store.

How do you think shopping will change in 10 years?


In an ideal world, physical stores will be places that make you feel like you’re on a mini-vacation. It will no longer be just a store…it will become your store thanks to your smartphone. That’s the future of shopping.
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