Shopkick adds in-app purchases to its suite of mobile shopping tools

Even as people buy more products online, businesses are looking for ways to capitalize on foot traffic in physical stores, and Shopkick is one of the apps that’s tried to bridge this gap. The app, which previously gave shoppers rewards for walking into retail stores, is announcing Tuesday that it will now add the ability to purchase items directly from the app as well.
The company dramatically re-designed its app in October, and reported that it has seen increased engagement since then, with people browsing more products in the app and ultimately spending more in stores. But in trying to provide the complete companion shopping app, it wasn’t enough just to reward people for walking into stores. Co-founder and CEO Cyriac Roeding said the most valuable customers tend to be the ones who are browsing items on their phones on the couch in addition to walking into stores, and Shopkick wanted to serve both scenarios.
Currently, the app gives consumers rewards, called “Kicks,” that they get for entering retail stores that have partnerships with the company, including Target, Macy’s, Best Buy, Old Navy, Anthropologie, and several others. It’s also teamed up with companies like Visa, so you can link your card and get rewards for making purchases with it. Starting this week, users will also be able to make purchases directly from within the app from selected stores.
So why not just buy something from a retailer’s own website or app? Roeding said a lot of people don’t want to download the app for every retail store they like or walk into — having a catch-all solution that rewards customer loyalty at multiple places is where Shopkick can stand out.
“Every retailer has its own app, and that’s really good. Because they’re catering to their most loyal customers with their app. But most consumers are not the most loyal customers. They’re not going to download 40 apps for 40 stores and open them every time they go in.”
I’ve written before why it’s important for someone to figure out the link between online browsing (think about all those items you’ve saved on Pinterest or Amazon), and the real-life browsing you do in stores. While Shopkick is approaching this differently than a company like Kickscout, both clearly see the opportunity to tie digital wish lists with consumers actually swiping a credit card.
Shopkick raised a $15 million Series B round in 2010 led by Greylock Partners, with participation from firms including Kleiner Perkins and SV Angel.