Consider ShopKick, for example. In a recent Q&A on MediaPost, I was willing to peg Shopkick as the most overhyped mobile technology. As Shopkick has been the subject of stories in major media outlets from here to Botswana, it’s easy to call it overhyped. The gist of the app is that you earn points by walking into select stores, which the app confirms by using the microphone to pick up an inaudible audio tone played by a speaker placed near a retailer’s entrance. More points, dubbed “kickbucks,” kick in when users take specific actions within the store such as scanning select products. Location is central to the app. The kickbucks only matter so much here, as I’ve made it to level six with over 400 kickbucks (in other words, I’ve used this app a lot) and still haven’t earned a $2 Best Buy gift card. The app is still very new and can play a role in having consumers engage with locations and products, but it’s not fully baked yet. [Más…]
Yesterday, a new location-centric application called CheckPoints was announced that’s designed to shift the framework of the experience. Instead of focusing on locations, CheckPoints works with brands, including launch partners Belkin, Energizer, Seventh Generation, and Tyson Foods. While users can check in at various shopping locations, the focus is on the apps’ featured products. Scanning those products unlocks custom content and rewards. Here, the rewards are designed to be more tangible so it doesn’t take too long to understand the benefits. Rewards can include airline miles and other offers not necessarily related to the items scanned.
Brands will be rooting for this app to work. I work with a number of consumer packaged goods brands, and I’m sure this will come up in conversation with several of them. If this app starts influencing users’ purchase decisions, especially in ways brands can readily track, then brands will promote the app themselves. In essence, it will mark a transition of slotting fees to scanning fees. It’s also worth noting that despite the differences between CheckPoints and Shopkick today, Shopkick can just as easily be used to promote products across a wide range of locations.
The limitations of product-scanning apps are numerous, and they’re worth keeping in mind. The technological hurdles will be overcome within several years, but consumer behavior may not change as fast.