Shopkick and its mobile apps have been very successful in increasing customer visits and return visits to what is now a network of some 3,000 stores and malls. The mobile app is straightforward. Fire it up when you go shopping and collect points for simply entering a store, scanning a barcode, and other activities. Those points accrue either to a gift card or Facebook Credits for online game redemption.
With this announcement, Shopkick stays in the picture right through the sale which is, after all, a key element for the merchant. Without a purchase there’s not much incentive to provide loyalty points or “kicks” as Shopkick calls them. Now a consumer who has linked their credit or debit card to their Shopkick app one time will see an alert in the app a few seconds after swiping that card at the retailer’s point of sale terminal. More points are awarded, and it becomes an opportunity to drive other purchasing behavior.
With that linkage, the consumer’s shopping behavior is linked to payment behavior. And the linkage affirms the important role of the Visa network and its issuers in the process.
Launched last year, the free Shopkick Android and iPhone apps provide users with reward points, called kicks, when they walk into participating retailers such as Best Buy and Target.
The points can then be redeemed in the shape of store and iTunes gift cards, restaurant vouchers and Facebook Credits.
The Visa partnership lets users link debit and credit cards to the app, meaning that they can collect points at the checkout as well. American Eagle Outfitters, Arden B., Old Navy, Toys”R”Us, and Wet Seal have all signed up to the new program me, dubbed Buy & Collect.
Meanwhile, TechCrunch has a more in-depth discussion on the Visa – Shopkick connection. The second video on the page features a lot of happy marketing types from large retailers wishing Shopkick a happy birthday. That’s quite an endorsement from a normally somewhat reticent crowd.