The newest incarnation of mobile marketing for building materials via smart phone apps is now in full swing. It’s called Shopkick, and it’s a mobile app that utilizes location services to track users as they enter participating stores. Consumers must download and turn on the application to participate, but once they do, a device within the store emits a high-pitched sound that humans can’t hear… but phones can. The phone connects with the device in the store and verifies the user’s presence onsite. The user then starts earning “kickbucks,” which can be used toward gift cards or other prizes like DVDs or Facebook game credits. They also start receiving special promotions tied to their interests.
Users earn kickbucks simply for entering the store. They also earn them for trying on clothes or scanning barcodes on promoted merchandise. If users purchase merchandise that was promoted on the app, Shopkick gets a cut from the sale.
Shopkick isn’t the only mobile building products marketing strategy out there trying to connect with shoppers, but it could be the one that really takes off. At least some experts think so. Business Insider says Shopkick is worth watching because it “has the combination of early deals, big-name backers and buzz.”
The app is already partnering with Best Buy, American Eagle Outfitters, Macy’s, the Sports Authority and shopping mall outfit Simon Property Group.
As Business Insider notes, one of the big deciding factors on whether Shopkick is here to stay will be the quality of rewards consumers earn using kickbucks. Remember playing Skee-Ball on vacation with your parents? It would take all night and 20,000 tickets to earn a giant pencil or a tiny Troll doll. Forget about actually winning a bike or surfboard.
If it takes that much work to earn less-than-spectacular rewards a la Skee-Ball, then the “wow” factor won’t last long, and shoppers will likely tire of the app. But if consumers can earn cash back and significant discounts, Shopkick could find some staying power.
An even bigger question for those in the home improvement industry is whether Shopkick could work for The Home Depot, Lowe’s or high-end design centers. Will people earn enough kickbucks during their kitchen remodel, for example, to make it worthwhile to use the program?
The best way to make this model work in home improvement will probably be to tap homeowners regularly, whether they’re engaged in a big renovation or a simple maintenance project, by making sure Shopkick promotions cover all product categories. It would be a great way to stay in touch with customers after they finish a big remodel.
If, for instance, someone purchases a floor covering product for a kitchen renovation, the retailer might want to promote related products from the same manufacturer the next time that customer enters a participating store or design center. Although the idea of kickbucks may seem somewhat unsophisticated, especially to some high-end homeowners, it certainly could work. Only time will tell.