March 8, 2012, 12:26 PM

Shopkick whips up a sequel to Black Friday in February

It lured into stores more mobile consumers than it did for the original.

Lead Photo

Shopkick app users got double the rewards for checking in at stores on Feb. 24.

Mobile social rewards app shopkick declared Feb. 24 “Black Friday 2.” It came exactly three months after the 2011 day after Thanksgiving that is the store shopping melee known as Black Friday.

Shopkick promised its app users double the rewards, or kicks, for checking in at participating retailers’ stores and for using its bar code scanner to scan products. This was m-commerce with all carrot and no stick. The result was 7% more check-ins on Feb. 24 than on Black Friday in November 2011, and 325% more check-ins than on the previous Friday in February, reports shopkick, which declines to reveal the exact number of check-ins. Feb. 24 broke the record for the number of shopkick check-ins on a single day, the company adds.

“We asked a simple question: What if retailers could create Black Friday shopping behavior any day of the year that they wanted?” says Cyriac Roeding, co-founder and CEO of shopkick. “So we offered about double the kicks to users for walking into any shopkick Partner Alliance store, and that was still worth less than a dollar. It resulted in a dramatic increase in foot traffic.”

Stores included American Eagle Outfitters Inc. (No. 102 in the Internet Retailer Mobile Commerce Top 300), Best Buy Co. Inc. (No. 16), Crate & Barrel (No. 143), Macy’s Inc. (No. 17), Old Navy (part of Gap Inc. Direct, No. 55), Toys ‘R’ Us Inc. (No. 40), The Wet Seal Inc. (No. 154) and others. The shopkick app detects a shopkick signal, emitted from a device located in a store and picked up by the microphone of a shopper’s phone. It then delivers kicks to the shopper’s app. Kicks are redeemed for in-store gift cards, song downloads, movie tickets, Facebook Credits, donations to 30 charities and more.

Shopkick promoted its second Black Friday through in-app messages and e-mail marketing. It says it achieved its goal of creating a network effect: It offered the same type of rewards across multiple locations, then boosted rewards at all locations on the same day and induced many consumers go not just to one store but on shopping sprees, shopkick says.

“With Black Friday 2, which was an otherwise completely normal workday with no big sales, we proved that shopkick can literally create Black Friday-like shopping behavior and foot traffic among users by harnessing the power of our unique alliance of partners,” Roeding says. “Out of thin air, on any day of the year—that is powerful.”

With three million users, shopkick drove more than five million check-ins and 12 million product scans in 2011, the company reports.

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