Shopkick, a brand new LBS startup we covered recently, just announced a major new partnership with Simon Properties to install its innovative check-in/rewards technology in shopping malls across the country.
At the heart of Shopkick’s technology is the bypass of GPS for location-tracking. Instead, Shopkick’s application depends on small speakers that retailers need to install at the entrance to their stores or mall that allow cell phone microphones to pick up the inaudible sound emitted by the speakers. The store is then identified by a code contained in the sound and automatically checks in a customer coming through the door. The idea is to all but eliminate false check-ins to allow the retailer to offer higher-valued rewards, coupons and incentives to users.
Simon Property Group is the country’s largest mall operator with over 370 shopping centers nationwide. Its partnership with Shopkick represents a huge opportunity for the concept to shine. The new collaborative initiative will start with 25 malls in New York, Chicago, Southern California and the San Francisco Bay area, and both companies plan to start delivering ads and coupons to shoppers by the end of August.
Shopkick has built a rather robust platform for serving highly-relevant location-based ads to consumers. In addition to overcoming the number-one problem of false check-ins, Shopkick says user-preferences will be tracked by its technology and those who frequent certain stores will receive more customized offers overtime. From a retail-marketers perspective, the concept of consumers divulging their cell phone numbers at the POS to redeem their offer provides a win-win opportunity.
I’m definitely intrigued with Shopkick’s concept here, so I’ll be tracking this trial and report on its effectiveness. I still see some barriers to wide-spread success with this, but it’s the closest to an LBS-based rewards concept that has long-term viability. I guess we’ll have to wait and see…