Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Shopkick Checks In With Target–CEO Cyriac Roeding Talks About Social Shopping

The idea of being rewarded for being a consumer is getting a lot of heat of late, as retailers seek to take advantage of the fast-moving social phenom among consumers, especially young ones.

Thus, a wide range of efforts to combine location-based mobile apps with purchasing, both online and offline.

Earlier this week, BoomTown posted on a funding for one such start-up, Topguest, which links check-ins with airline and hotel loyalty programs.

Today, another company in the space, shopkick, announced it had added another store–Minneapolis-based Target–to its list of retailers deploying its platform and mobile app.

As with customers of Macy’s, Best Buy and others, users of the shopkick app will receive points and other rewards, as well as instant mobile coupons, just for walking in the store.

The point being: Retailers need to reward foot traffic and not just purchases.

The Target partnership is limited now to 242 stores in the Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis, New York City and the San Francisco area.

Target will also offer scannable mobile coupons to customers for redemption at checkout.

It will be interesting to see how effective apps such as shopkick are as they roll out, as consumers test them.

Unlike others that offer quick deals–from Foursquare to Facebook to, now, Yahoo–shopkick uses its “kickbucks” as an enticement simply for being present in a store or scanning certain barcodes.

It’s certainly easy enough–my son, Louie, did it with ease and definite enjoyment–although a user does need to remember to fire up the app when entering a participating store.

There is also a small device retailers need to install need to make the shopkick ecosystem work.

CEO Cyriac Roeding, a former EVP for CBS’ mobile unit, created the concept for the Menlo Park, Calif.-based start-up while an entrepreneur-in-residence at Kleiner Perkins.

The company has raised $20 million in venture funding from Kleiner’s iFund, longtime Silicon Valley investor Reid Hoffman, as well as Hoffman’s home at Greylock Partners.

Here is a video interview I did with Roeding about where shopkick is going next:


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