ShopKick, MyTown and Mobile Loyalty

Coupons and mobile loyalty marketing have emerged as a huge area for brands, retailers and potentially small businesses alike. A potentially significant player in that market, ShopKick, formally launches on the iPhone today. Android is coming later.

ShopKick is like a marriage of Foursquare and Placecast's ShopAlerts. I previously posted about ShopKick on Screenwerk:

In a nutshell ShopKick offers coupons and rewards for entering stores and checking in (this extends to store departments in some cases). Users can also scan products for information and additional offers. Points ("Kickbucks") are accumulated toward rewards that include gift cards and promotional products. Inaugural retailers are BestBuy, American Eagle Outfitters, Macy's and Sports Authority.

ShopKick will also show nearby offers and potential rewards to lure people into stores in addition to rewarding them for "walking in."

Separately but in a related vein, Booyah's MyTown is seeking to differentiate itself from competitors Foursquare and Gowalla by offering product check-ins. The company claimed "over 350,000 Product Check-ins a week by our players!" during a test period. 

Product check-ins on MyTown are not necessarily store specific. Users scan products with their phone's camera (iPhone) and get rewards or enter to win contests, etc. Inaugural brands in this program were H&M stores and Pantene haircare products. 

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There a few things significant about these developments: 

  • Traditional loyalty programs are mobilizing (see also, CardStar) and morphing into games
  • Mobile users can receive push messages about offers near stores
  • The mobile angle allows new types of on-site analytics (based on foot traffic, time of day, etc.)
  • These services can also be promoted through and integrated into traditional media (e.g., print, TV, DOOH)

Related: There's a lengthy article in the NYTimes about ShopKick. And Barcode Hero is another app that ties rewards to product scanning.