In its second-largest acquisition, Amazon buys the company for $970 million.
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American Eagle deployed shopkick in 52 stores in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco over the summer, Dupuis says, and plans to roll out the technology to all its stores soon. However, he says it’s too early to gauge results.
And American Eagle is not alone. Best Buy Co. Inc., Macy’s Inc. and The Sports Authority Inc. are also testing shopkick.
While shopkick has generated a lot of buzz, it’s not the only player in its field.
Shoe retailer Journeys this summer became the first merchant to use location-based app Scvngr. Shoppers can go to any of Journeys’ more than 800 stores, virtually check in and complete challenges via a Scvngr app on their iPhone or a smartphone that uses Google’s Android operating system. A typical challenge: “Pick the shoes you’d rock on your favorite skateboard, snap a pic and you’ve scored 5 points.” Twenty points earned gets consumers $10 off a purchase at any Journeys store, says Kari Irons, director of marketing for retailer operations at Genesco Inc., Journeys’ parent company.
Journeys was the first retailer to work with the Scvngr Inc. mobile app and game platform, Irons says, and, as the inaugural merchant, it gets to use the program for free.
Like American Eagle, Journeys says it’s too early to gauge results. “At this point we’re most excited about getting consumers discovering and interacting with the technology,” Irons says. In the near future, Scvngr will begin to share analytics data with Journeys, including the amounts and types of the challenges completed in Journeys stores, and where the coupons are being downloaded, Irons says.
Moving forward, any business owner will be able to create and manage their own games and rewards using the Scvngr app, Scvngr says. The first 50 businesses in the first 10 markets will, like Journeys, get to use Scvngr for free. After that, the start-up will charge $500 to $1,000 a year, a spokeswoman says.
Meanwhile, for retailers considering using in-store mobile marketing programs but worried about cutting off shoppers who don’t have smartphones, there are options.
Retailer Nine West in September launched a mobile marketing campaign to promote its Fall 2010 Vintage America Collection, which is endorsed by singer Joss Stone. The campaign aims to allow any consumer with a camera phone to receive multimedia content via text message.
The retailer worked with mobile marketing firm JagTag to incorporate two-dimensional, or 2-D, bar codes on in-store signage, as well as on the collection’s product packaging. 2-D bar codes can carry much more information than a conventional one-dimensional bar code.
When a consumer takes a picture of a 2-D bar code and sends the image via text message or e-mail to a designated phone number, she is entered into a contest to win apparel, behind-the-scenes videos from Stone’s performances and how-to style tips.
The campaign was appealing to Nine West, part of Jones Apparel Group Inc., because it doesn’t require the consumer to download any software, the retailer says. Moreover, by allowing users to send photos via text message, it engages some of the 69% of U.S. mobile phone owners that do not own a smartphone, according to Nielsen Co.
And for any retailer, reaching 100% of mobile phone owners is more appealing than reaching 30%—no matter how cool the app.