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Wet Seal, Target ramp up mobile LBS to drive customer acquisition, loyalty

The Wet Seal Inc. and Target are the latest retailers to tap the location-based mobile rewards and offers craze to drive foot traffic, customer acquisition and loyalty.

Wet Seal formed a strategic partnership with location-based shopping application shopkick to deliver location-based rewards to shoppers at nearly 100 retail locations nationwide. Wet Seal and Arden B shoppers can use the shopkick application to earn rewards and offers for walking into participating stores in the Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Miami, Houston and San Diego metropolitan areas.

“As retailers look to engage customers earlier in the buying cycle, we believe location-based events via mobile devices are a class of activities which hold great promise,” said Jon Kubo, chief information officer of The Wet Seal Inc., Foothill Ranch, CA.

“The ability to accurately sense the customer in our stores via the shopkick application—and location transmitters—is an absolute prerequisite to any meaningful incentive or interaction, and understanding the associated benefit,” he said.

“A smart mobile device is the most personal, social and location-aware device we own, and engaging interactions when our customers walk into our stores have the potential to be the most appropriate and meaningful interactions and thus the best for loyalty.”

The Wet Seal Inc. is a specialty retailer of fashionable and contemporary apparel and accessory items.

The company operates 522 stores in 47 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, including 444 Wet Seal stores and 78 Arden B stores.

Other shopkick partners include Target Corp., American Eagle Outfitters Inc., Best Buy Inc., Macy’s Inc., Simon Property Group Inc. and the Sports Authority. 

Currently more than 1,000 individual stores across multiple retailers and 100 of the country’s largest malls have fully deployed shopkick’s technology.

In addition, at more than 230,000 other stores across America, shopkick offers smaller rewards for checking-in via the application and scanning products from leading brands, including Kraft Foods and Procter & Gamble.

Mobile rewards driving foot traffic
Early feedback from Wet Seal customers shows that shopkick helps get customers in the store.

So as the holidays—the most important time of the retail year—approach, Wet Seal chose to join with shopkick for a way to get customers in the door and connect directly with shoppers via their smartphones.

Wet Seal believes that offering real high-value rewards is justifiable because the retailer can verify that each shopper who checks in at a store is really there, seeing our merchandise and interacting with our brand.

The shopkick iPhone application detects a signal emitted from a patent-pending device located in each participating store to deliver rewards called “kickbucks” to each user.

Kickbucks can be collected and redeemed across all partner stores for in-store gift card rewards or discounts, or song downloads, Facebook Credits to play games online, magazine subscriptions and donations to 30 different causes and charities.

Because the detection occurs on the user’s mobile device, the privacy of presence information is completely under the user’s control, according to shopkick.

The shopkick app also lets users get even more kickbucks for scanning and learning about products and services.

Application users can also receive special offers, for example, a discount on specific products at participating retailers, or double the kickbucks for check-in during promotional periods.

Consumers can earn kickbucks from every retailer and redeem them at any partner retailer.

The shopkick application is available as a free download in the App Store.

“Shopkick has an elegant application designed directly around retailers,” Mr. Kubo said. “Our mobile strategy works well with shopkick because we believe in employing as many acquisition and loyalty methods as prove successful.

“Our strategy is to provide the long-tail engaging merchandise driven data to enhance the experience when the customer is in the store to any application the customer would like to use as well as our own mobile app suite,” he said.

Select Target stores to pilot shopkick
Minneapolis-based Target serves consumers at 1,752 stores in 49 states nationwide and at

Target recently became the first mass-discount retailer to make the shopkick mobile application available to its customers.

Users of the application canreceive points and other rewards such as instant mobile coupons just for entering Target.

The location-based retail application is available in 242 stores in the Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami,Minneapolis, New York and San Francisco/Silicon Valley markets.

Target will make offers available via shopkick on a range of everyday items from food and cleaning supplies to specialty products such as electronics and toys.

Target is the only current shopkick partner able to deliver scannable mobile coupons to guests for redemption at checkout.

Guests can redeem their Target GiftCards directly from the shopkick application by having a cashier scan the phone’s screen at point of sale.

“Almost all retailers agree that the number one challenge for them is getting potential customers inside the door,” Cyriac Roeding, cofounder/CEO of shopkick, San Francisco. “Shopkick encourages foot traffic by providing retailers with a way to reward shoppers, just for walking in.

“Until now marketers have had no way to ensure that the money they spend to attract customers is actually resulting in the desired action, a store visit,” he said. “With shopkick, for the first time retailers can ensure that their marketing dollars are being spent on people that are really present inside their store.”

Final Take