April 5, 2012, 11:37 AM

Shopkick steps on the gas with its latest promotion

Consumers at 375 ExxonMobil stations can use the app to get rewards.

Lead Photo

Shopkick, a location-based mobile rewards app that has worked with American Eagle, Target and Best Buy , has found a new mobile marketing partner: the gas pump.

Shopkick and ExxonMobil have launched a mobile rewards campaign with more than 375 gas stations in Miami, New York and Washington, D.C. ExxonMobil customers can download the shopkick app for free on their smartphone, open it while at an ExxonMobil location and receive rewards, called kicks, they can use for discounts and offers in stores or to redeem prizes online. While ExxonMobil doesn’t offer any Exxon-specific rewards in what shopkick calls its rewards mall, a shopkick spokeswoman says Exxon hopes to get more foot traffic from shopkick users looking to rack up more rewards points by checking in to ExxonMobil. 

“This is a great new retail vertical for us,” says Doug Galen, chief revenue officer for shopkick. “Exxon and Mobil branded locations have many of the products we all buy. With shopkick’s rewards, consumers will love the convenience of earning rewards at ExxonMobil pilot market locations and then the ability to spend those rewards at our participating retailers.”

The shopkick app detects a signal emitted from a small device about the size of a brick located in each participating store; the signal is picked up by a shopper’s smartphone when the app is open. Shopkick then delivers kicks to the consumer’s account, rewards points that can be collected and redeemed at all participating locations. Kicks are redeemed for in-store gift cards, song downloads, movie tickets, Facebook credits, donations to 30 causes and charities, and more.

The way a shopper redeems a special store offer presented through shopkick depends on the retailer. With an American Eagle campaign, for example, consumers clicked a “Use it” button in the app to apply the offer. When she was ready to purchase, she clicked a “Checkout” button to display a discount code to present to the cashier. In a Best Buy partnership, a shopper informed the cashier that she was a shopkick user and provided her cell phone number. Then, any applicable shopkick discount was deducted and appeared on the shopper’s receipt. 

Shopkick gets paid a small fee for each kick a store doles out. If a consumer buys an item after using the app, Shopkick gets a percentage of the purchase price, shopkick says. There’s also a fee for the shopkick signal transmitters, which the spokeswoman says cost less than $100 each. 

“Conversion rates in the physical world are far greater than online, especially in the convenience store vertical. Shopkick’s business model is similar to how the pay-per-click model works online – it’s performance-based – so shopkick gets a percentage of value of kicks earned by visitors. Retail partners are willing to pay this to shopkick because it’s proven to drive store visits,” the spokeswoman says.

In late February, shopkick declared a “Black Friday 2” and offered its app users double the rewards for checking in at participating retailers’ stores and for using its bar code scanner to scan products. The promotion garnered shopkick and its retailers 7% more check-ins on that day than on Black Friday in November 2011, and 325% more check-ins than on the previous Friday in February, shopkick says. Feb. 24, the day of the promotion, also broke the record for the number of shopkick check-ins on a single day, the company adds.

 The shopkick app is available for free on the iPhone and on phones using Google Inc.’s Android operating system.

Learn more about a mobile coupon and site strategy by watching this video from the Internet Retailer Mobile Conference Forum. In the video, Chris Hershberger of Michaels Stores explains how his company leverages mobile.  


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