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Sports Authority taps shopkick for in-store activation nationwide

Now shopkick app users will earn “kicks” – virtual credit or “kickbucks” – on their mobile devices as they walk in any Sports Authority store, instead of the limited number that offered it before. Mobile incentives such as this drive sales and can help increase foot traffic in bricks-and-mortar stores.

“Mobile incentives work because they apply proven promotion strategies like coupons, gift cards, and loyalty cards, and enhances them with mobile features like location-based alerts, push messages, and the ability to track customer behavior,” said Drew Giovannoli, United States sales and marketing at Fosbury, Houston. “Using apps like shopkick or mobile wallet platforms like Fosbury, these incentives are incredibly easy to launch to engage with your customers.

“Apps like shopkick allow deep loyalty and game dynamics where mobile wallets allow lighter features, but offer the ability to reach customers without any app download, leveraging pre-installed apps like Apple Passbook and Google Wallet,” he said.

Sports Authority and shopkick were not available to comment before press time.

Data on the number of consumers who used the shopkick app and entered a Sports Authority store was not available.

Kicking ahead
Consumers can download the shopkick app for free download on iPhone and Android devices. The app then detects when a consumer is inside a story and rewards consumers with kicks.

Consumers received double kicks for using the app on Dec. 19, the launch day. Sports Authority has more than 475 stores across 43 states.

Sports Authority has used shopkick in the past and has seen that these kinds of incentives can lead to increased foot traffic.

In 2011, Sports Authority saw a 60 percent to 80 percent increase in user walk-ins when it increased the amount of kickbucks offered (see story).

Shoppers also can earn kicks for scanning products in-store, browsing content and for making purchases.

Retailers are under pressure to combat Amazon by offering great pricing and free shipping, while engaging mobile consumers in the physical point of sale, according to Wilson Kerr, vice president of business development and sales at Unbound Commerce, Boston.

“Margin killers like Amazon fuel showrooming problems for retailers, and they need to answer this threat with their own play,” Mr. Kerr said.

“Push messaging in-store is the Holy Grail, but consumers have long-been wary,” he said. “Increasingly, retailers are starting to understand that loyal consumers to download an app are willing to accept him act on these push notifications.”

By enabling its location-finding feature, the shopkick app helps consumers learn whether they are near a Sports Authority store.

Fixing crashes
Updated versions of both the shopkick iOS and Android apps were released this month.

New features include crash fixes and improved kick-finding options.

The shopkick iOS and Android apps are available for free download in the Apple App Store and Google Play, respectively.

Shopkick has 16 retail and more than 150 brand partners, at this time.

The shopkick app for iPhone was launched in August 2010, with Sports Authority as one of its original retail partners, integrating the app in a limited number of stores.

The shopkick app drove $200 million in revenue for its partners in 2012. That amount is expected to double in 2013, according to shopkick.

In February 2013, shopkick led other shopping apps for frequency and length of use (see story).

Last month, Macy’s rolled out an iBeacon pilot at its East and West coast flagships to provide an enhanced in-store experience for Shopkick users (see story).

Keeping pace
Some analysts and marketers question whether shopkick can maintain its pace.

“Shopkick has pivoted to some degree, and is now focused on find-a-product-near-you search, tied to the ability to drive in-store sales, by linking their app to existing mobile commerce sites,” Unbound Commerce’s Mr. Kerr said. “As retailers ramp up their own mobile commerce efforts and break down the silos between online sales and in-store sales, the shopkick proposition might resonate well.

“On the other hand, large retailers will likely want to roll their own offering, to avoid linking all of the upside to an outside entity,” he said. “Shopkick’s offering might well offer them the ability to test the water, and learn, so they can be better able to fully leverage this opportunity on their own.”

Final Take
Kari Jensen is staff writer on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York