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Shopkick drives small business traffic via Citi partnership

Shopping application shopkick is partnering with Citi Ventures to drive in-store shopping at small businesses.

The app, which works with devices located in stores, lets consumers check into stores and earn rewards, including gift cards, movie tickets, hotel vouchers and song downloads. The shopkick app is available on iPhone and Android devices.

“We see the largest traffic from mass-market retailers, however it still leaves us with stores that consumers interact with on an every day basis that we need to reach out to,” said Cyriac Roeding, CEO of Shopkick, Palo Alto, CA.

“People are not always aware of smaller stores in their cities, so if someone gives you a reward, consumers might be more willing to try a new place,” he said.

Shopkick is a location-based app that focuses on driving foot traffic into stores.

Small rewards
Small businesses in nine cities, including Dallas, Los Angeles, New Orleans and Seattle can apply to be part of the shopkick program.

The first one thousand small businesses to sign up for the program will get free installation of the shopkick box, which emits an audio signal that verifies users are in the store to earn points called kicks.

The program was slowly rolled out in a pilot program involving one hundred small and medium-sized companies across the country over the past few months.

Mr. Roeding said so far the company has seen a substantial demand from local merchants.

Grow on mobile
This news from shopkick shows the growing significance of small and local businesses in mobile.

By including small businesses into shopkick’s in-store rewards programs, companies can target the niche, repeat customers that small businesses are known for.

Shopkick is best known for its partnerships with mass-market retailers, including Best Buy, Hewlett-Packard Co. and Crate and Barrel.

In particular, this partnership signals how a mobile company that has experienced success with targeting consumers at larger retailers via mobile sees the potential for local merchants in the space as well.

“Without a local aspect, something is missing from the shopping experience, and because we want to be the number one shopping app for consumers, we saw a need to draw in small merchants,” Mr. Roeding said.

“Mobile will be the most important marketing platform for retailers with physical stores because phones are the only interactive medium that you carry with you into or around a store,” he said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York