Consumers love their mobile device, sometimes at the retailer's expense, since mobile apps tend to drive consumers outside of physical stores. Shopkick tries to value the in-store experience and convert foot-traffic into actual benefits for retailers who suffer from "showrooming".

Mobile shopping apps, an antidote to “showrooming”?

Mobile devices are shoppers’ best friends when they’re in store: they use them to compare prices, look up product reviews, and usually end up buying products they saw at a physical store, but online. Some say physical stores are becoming ‘showrooms’ for consumers – a critical problem for retail brands. While the mobile shopping apps market is flourishing, it isn’t always clear whether retailers actually get much more out of those apps than simple foot-traffic. Mobile shopping apps such as Shopkick leverage gamification to value the in-store experience and hopefully convert foot-traffic into actual purchases in-store and measurable revenue to retailers: “Some mobile services drive people out of stores, not into stores, with online comparison shopping that turn stores into ‘showrooms.’ Shopkick does the opposite,” claims Shopkick CEO Cyriac Roeding “It’s a win-win-win between retailers, brands, and consumers.” Launched in 2010, this app allows consumers to earn rewards, discounts and deals while walking into a store. Its numerous partners include Best Buy, Macy’s, Levi’s, American Eagle or Procter & Gamble.

Rewarding in-store interactions with products

Shopkick is a location-based mobile shopping app. Unlike check-in-based app, Shopkick automatically identifies users when they enter a partner store. The app then awards “kicks” – rewards – to users for visiting a store or interacting with a product. Interactions with a product can consist in scanning a barcode or trying on a dress for instance. Thanks to recent partnership with Visa, Shopkick rewards also shoppers when making purchases using their credit card. Earned “Kicks” can then be converted into Facebook credits, gift cards or special discounts into partner stores. Not only does the app encourage in-store shopping and interaction with products, but it is also meant to increase customer loyalty to a brand or a store.

Converting foot-traffic into actual sales for retailers

So far, Shopkick has been very successful. Deployed over 250 malls and 4000 stores across the USA, the company registers 3 million active users, 1 billion offers viewed, 5million walk-ins and 10 million of scanned products. More recently, the mobile app announced that it drove more than 110 millions in terms of revenue to its partners over 2011.  Founder Cyriac Roeding said that “Conversion rates of walk-ins to sales can be measured directly by counting specific shopkick offers in the basket at retailers, by rewards for purchases through POS integrations, and conversion rates of product scans to product sales can be measured through in-app questionnaires and POS integrations.”