No Check-Ins Needed. Shopkick Sends You Deals From Your Couch

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Shopkick is taking its audio check-in technology to television in a new deal with the CW that will allow Shopkick users to unlock exclusive deals when they use their app during certain commercials. The partnership, which will be announced today at the CW’s upfront presentation, is a significant deal for Shopkick and shows how smartphone apps like Shopkick can help brands connect their broadcast commercials to local transactions.

The way it works is that the CW will provide a subtle on-screen prompt for Shopkick users to fire up their app. Using Shopkick’s audio technology, which normally senses a beacon inside a store to unlock rewards, the app will recognize specific commercials from partner brands. When Shopkick identifies the commercial, it will push out special offers on products and kickbucks to users. So all a user needs to do is watch Gossip Girl with their smartphone nearby and the app open to get the deals.

The idea is that Shopkick can serve as a bridge for brands to take users from a commercial and lead them into a store. It’s a big step for Shopkick, which has been primarily about unlocking local rewards when people enter a retail location. But it shows how powerful audio-sensing technology can be when applied to local commerce. IntoNow, a mobile app which was recently purchased by Yahoo for $20 million, showed how it can recognize TV shows just by listening to them, similar to the way Shazam works for identifying music. At the time, people talked about how it would aid in social TV viewing, allowing automatic check-ins for shows. As my colleague Janko pointed out, the technology can be used for broadcast interactivity, taking the content and commercials on screen and providing additional information through the second screen on a smartphone.

With Shopkick, we’re seeing that this is technology is not just good for check-ins or providing additional info about onscreen content. But it can be used to push out offers to a very broad audience. By tying into popular TV shows, brands can begin a conversation with a consumer and then lead them right to the cash register. And this gives them a way to measure how well the campaign is working by seeing how many people redeem these particular commercial-based smartphone offers.

This should help CW become more interactive with its users. And this could provide a nice shot of attention for Shopkick, which is not well known beyond more savvy smartphone shoppers. Shopkick, which recently pushed out version 2.0 of its app, now has 1.5 million active users with 40 percent active monthly and 20 percent using the app on a weekly basis. Now it’s showing that it doesn’t have to wait until users get into the store to start interacting with Shopkick. It can start the process in the living room.

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