Growth in Shopkick’s active users shows value to both consumers and marketers


Shopkick, the location-based personalized coupon and rewards app, reports an active user base of 3 million, up from 2.3 million in September.  Users earn “kickbucks” by doing activities, including walking into stores, scanning items they like, and trying on clothes.  These kickbucks can then be redeemed for a variety of gift cards or Facebook credits. (Side note: Our lab is set up as a Shopkick location where you can earn kickbacks from walking in and scanning items from our “retail store” section.)

Retailers are boasting an increase in traffic and, more importantly, conversions because of Shopkick.  One unnamed retailer estimates “$50 million in measurable incremental revenue as a result of the Shopkick mobile app.” (source: TechCrunch)

While I have some hesitations about using Shopkick*, the app highlights two trends I find worth noting.

1) Shopkick’s users are 64% women, echoing the research of others that show women’s dominance in some emerging platforms, including an overwhelming majority on social media site Pinterest, the ever-rising phenomena of “Mommy Blogs”, and a significant more amount of time playing mobile games than their male counterparts.  I suppose it’s no surprise that more women than men are using a shopping related app (if we’re going to go on gender stereotypes), but I think the wide spread adoption of new media by women is important for the media, technology, and marketing industries to note.

2) Shopkick’s network provides a vast collection of consumer data.  The ever-increasing amount of personal data that consumers willingly give away is something we talk about frequently in the lab.  When I signed up for Shopkick, it asked for access to my current location, Facebook information, zip code, phone number, and a listing of my favorite stores, all so it can better tailor its offers to me.  When in a shopping environment, I provide more personal date by trying on clothes and scanning items I like.  I’ve yet to use the app extensively, so I can’t speak to its personalization abilities, but regardless, this offers a ton of data that can be analyzed by marketers and used to better target consumers.   From using the app, the company has records of my key demographics (age, gender, location) and my shopping habits and preferences.  Through apps like this, and other apps where people openly provide their personal information, like Nike+, Fitbit, and Foursquare, marketers have ever more data at their finger tips.  Analyzing this data and effectively implementing the findings will provide a crucial competitive advantage in today’s marketplace.

* An example of my hesitation about its value: Shopkick claims to “automatically” track your visits to stores without  manually checking in, but when I just tried to earn my kick-bucks for walking in to Macy’s, the app told me to pause in the doorway for a few seconds — not the most convenient thing to do in the revolving doors of Macy’s flagship store in Herald Square)