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Best Buy Tests Street-Traffic Rewards Tool

8/03/2010 04:33:10 PM Eastern
San Francisco - Best Buy said Tuesday it will help Silicon Valley-based startup Shopkick launch patent-pending Shopkick Signal location technology and its Shopkick mobile shopping application at the Best Buy store on 13th Street, here.

The Shopkick app is due to launch over the coming weeks in several additional U. S. Best Buy markets.

Shopkick offers the first location-based mobile application that promises consumer offers and rewards for shopping, as well as for just walking into a retail location, Shopkick said.

Unlike traditional GPS location-based services that require a shopper to "check in," and offer an accuracy radius of 100 to 1,000 yards (within a block or two), Shopkick Signal technology requires no consumer check-in and can guarantee that a user is truly present in the retail location.

"We asked ourselves: ‘If foot traffic is the challenge for physical retailers, then why does nobody ever reward consumers for walking into stores?' " stated Cyriac Roeding, co-founder and CEO, Shopkick. "Best Buy was the first retailer to share in our vision that the future of retail lies in mobile. Now consumers can get rewarded not just for shopping, but simply for walking into a store. Our Shopkick Signal technology is so precise that for that first time, location-based rewards are economically viable for retailers, because consumers are truly inside the store, rather than elsewhere in the vicinity of the store, such as the parking lot."

Best Buy said it will use the Shopkick technologies on an experimental basis in select U.S. stores to explore the likelihood that consumers will value and redeem rewards points and offers through mobile retail applications.

The retail chain integrated Shopkick directly into its point-of-sale system in the San Francisco store to streamline the redemption of special offers. Customers walk up to the cashier, provide the mobile phone number connected to their Shopkick app, and any applicable personalized discounts immediately appear on their receipt.

"Smartphones and mobile technology, increasingly used for research during the shopping process, are bridging digital and physical shopping experiences in promising ways for consumers -- in the store, from check-in to check-out, right on their smartphones," said Richard Rommel, senior VP, new business customer solutions group, Best Buy. "The convergence of location technology and rewards to personalize an experience with Best Buy is at the heart of our vision of the connected world, and we will work with services like Shopkick that can add value to our customers."

To use the service, consumers download a free Shopkick mobile application for their smart phones. The Shopkick app for iPhone will be available in the coming weeks on the App Store, followed by apps for additional smartphones.

When the Shopkick app is open on the smartphone, it detects the Shopkick Signal technology installed in the retail location as the consumer walks through the door, and the shopper instantly receives rewards, called "Kickbucks."

Shopkick explained that because the detection occurs on the consumer's phone, the privacy of presence information is completely under the user's control.

Kickbucks can be immediately redeemed for Facebook credits, songs from Napster, immediate in-store cash-back rewards at Shopkick partner stores, magazine subscriptions and donations to charities.

Retailers like Best Buy that support the Shopkick app also will deliver consumers special in-store deals, and/or added bonuses for scanning barcodes of specific products. Similar to the "cost per click" traffic-based online business model, retailers will pay Shopkick only for those consumers who walk into their stores with the Shopkick app recognizing the in-store Shopkick Signal system.
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