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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.

3 Responses to “No Check-Ins Needed. Shopkick Sends You Deals From Your Couch”

  1. Knight

    This is a great app!! As long as you don’t try to actually earn the points that are possible or redeem your points.
    After scanning and checking in and walking in for about a month and following all of their rules I finally had enough points to get an iTunes giftcard and a BestBuy giftcard. However as I scanned the “Check your upgrade” code that Kyle, one of their mobile phone guys, provided me so that I could get the final 100 points I needed for my 2 gift cards my phone goes red and says I broke some rule! I send Shopkick an email asking about what was wrong because I just checked in a minute ago, got the walk-in bonus points, and am actually standing there talking to a BestBuy employee (I even gave them the store address and his employee number) when I get banned.
    They didn’t even bother to send a real response … just a generic statement of the rules.

    So I’m left to conclude that they’re more than happy to track you, get you to scan the products, see their advertisements so they can make money … but as soon as you try to get what they promised you they’d rather just ban you with no explanation.

  2. I’m sorry, but features like this sound good on paper but simply don’t work in real life. Yeah, let me find my phone, unlock it, find the app one one of my pages, open it, wait for it to load, find the right button to press etc. etc. and then catch the remaining 2 seconds of the commercial which ShopKick will not be able to recognize from 2 seconds of audio. Sure.

    • Ryan Kim

      If the CW prompts people with enough time, it might not terribly hard to fire up the app. Though this is still not a very familiar habit so you’re right, it may not work for many people. But I like the idea. We’ll see where it goes.