Posts Tagged ‘barcode’

Can Restaurants Join the Fun?

June 6, 2012 Leave a comment

YES, the shopkick model can be applied to consumers’ restaurant experience!

We have recently seen shopkick start to move away from traditional retail stores to different businesses, including gas stations and Visa cards.  But who is shopkick going to partner with next?  Well, we believe that shopkick has great opportunities in the restaurant industry. Restaurants have yet to fully embraced mobile marketing and thus have an opportunity in this trend. Here we take a look at a large American restaurant chain and developed a marketing plan utilizing shopkick. Let’s use BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse as an example.

Obviously, kicks cold be offered for walk-ins, but what about the opportunity to scan products that are sold? Without much investment, BJ’s could include QR codes or barcodes on their menu and offer kicks for specific food items depending on what plates they want to drive attention towards.

Another benefit to using shopkick is that the restaurant could try to control the traffic during different days and different times of the day. By offering a large amount of kicks for walk-ins during a specific time-frame, such as happy hour or typically slow times of the day or week.

Kicks could also be offered for purchasing certain items, such as appetizers, desserts, entrees, drinks, etc. After purchasing the specified food or beverage items, a QR code could be printed out on the customers’ receipt which could be scanned for even more kicks. This also should not pose much additional cost to introduce this process.

Ultimately, shopkick can be used by various types of businesses in order to bring awareness to brands and products. Shopkick facilitates the building of relationships between brands and consumers. This is done by engaging customers and having them interact with brands and products.


Shopkick Ban

May 25, 2012 4 comments

It’s official! I’m BANNED.!!!

I have read articles and visited plenty of sites that talk about Shopkick cheats. I decided to do an experiment to see how long it would take for the app to realize that I’m using cheats. But of course I’m not going to put my account at risk for this, I decided to try this on my girlfriend’s iPhone. There are many ways to cheat the app and the following are just the ones I have heard:

  • Scan the barcodes (UPC or QR code) online without actually going to the store.
  • Record the inaudible sound that is played at store entrances for recognizing walk-ins
  • GPS hack to allow the user to search more stores

I decided to use the first method to see how long it would take for me to get caught and what would happen if I do get banned. I did a simple google search for sites that have images of the barcodes  for the products available to scan at the participating stores. I found a site where the barcodes are most up-to-date. With this, I started scanning the barcodes daily. It was extremely easy to gather the kicks as the barcodes are still images that can be captured by the camera steadily. Using this method, I was able to collect roughly about 200 kicks a day. However, the judgement date finally came for me on the 9th day where I received a big red notice right when I launched the app. Also, another error message was given when I try to use my kicks to redeem for rewards.

On Shopkick’s Facebook page, I found that many Shopkick users are complaining for getting banned for no apparent reason and getting no respond when they emailed this problem in. One of administrators for the page made the following comment: “Hi all- We do not ban users for redeeming rewards. If you were banned and not scanning barcodes from a website send us an email at Thanks!-shopkick Cat.” I decided to send in an email to see if they would actually reinstate my account with no questions asked. For the moment, I will keep my fingers crossed and hope for some good news from Shopkick.

Shopkick vs. Checkpoints for Users and Stores

May 20, 2012 3 comments

Shopkick and Checkpoints are both apps that give customers rewards for interacting with products. But what are the differences and similarities and which one is better?

First let’s talk about what both apps have in common: Both apps have a system that allows customers to gather credits and redeem those for rewards. The purpose of both apps is identical accordingly: direct the customer’s attention to certain products and bring customers into the store. Therefore, both shopkick and Checkpoints give you credits for scanning product barcodes. That’s how far the similarities go.

How are they different?

In many other regards, shopkick and Checkpoints are very different. The focus of shopkick seems to be more on the in-store experience, whereas Checkpoints’ focus seems to be more on the user as a consumer in general. Checkpoints for example gives coins to users for a broad variety of things. You can get coins for downloading suggested apps, scanning items at home, liking the app on Facebook, or searching on yahoo. Moreover, Checkpoints has 2 games integrated that allow to gamble for coins. However, the amount of coins that can be earned for this kind of activities are relatively small and normally around 1 or 2 coins. This number is relatively low considering that a $1 gift card for Home Depot costs 300 coins.

Why is shopkick better for customers?

Shopkick on the other hand, does not over those low credit activities. Instead you can get kicks for walking into a store. Shopkick has an electronic device installed in each participating store’s entrance area that sends out an inaudible sound signal. This signal is recorded by the shopkick app. That allows shopkick to register when a customer is walking into a store. The amount of kicks you get for a walk in are relatively high and range between 50 and 200. This seems to be more attractive to customers, especially because the value of 1 kick is comparable, even slightly higher, than 1 coin: a 2$ gift card for Best Buy costs 500 kicks. That means 250 shopkick kicks are worth $1 compared to 300 Checkpoints coins for $1. In other words, you might have to download 150 apps to get a $1 gift card from Checkpoints, but you might only need to walk into 3 stores in order to get a $2 gift card from shopkick.

Why is shopkick better for stores?

The desire for a Checkpoint user to walk into a store is much lower than the desire for a shopkick user. A shopkick user gets large amounts of kicks for walking into the store, a Checkpoint user doesn’t. This is very important for stores. The shopping conversion rate for retail stores can be as high as 50%. That means, that every other customer that walks into a store actually buys something. Even customers that entered the store only for getting kicks and that had no initial intention to buy anything, might find something they need once they entered the store.

Concluding, the benefits for users as well as for participating stores seem to be higher for shopkick than for Checkpoints. This is mostly due to the thousands of audio signaling devices that shopkick has installed in participating stores. In regard to the competition, this investments seems to pay out for shopkick the users and the stores.

Shopkick Cheats

May 13, 2012 2 comments

Shopkick enables customers to get great rewards practically for free. The only thing customers have to do is to walk into a store, scan a product, or make a credit card purchase. The rewards you can redeem are very desirable, ranging from gift cards to a luxury cruise. Unfortunately, whenever something is desirable, people tend to try to get it whatever it takes. Therefore, some users of shopkick came up with ways to cheat the app. They get kicks for walk-ins without actually walking into stores and they get kicks for scanning products without scanning the actual products. There are even websites supporting such fraudulent activities.

Users post here pictures of bar codes so that other users don’t have to go into a store in order to scan products. They even post recordings of the inaudible sound that is played at store entrances for recognizing walk-ins. Those websites are a real threat to the business model of shopkick. The idea behind shopkick is to draw customers into the stores and to point their attention to specific products. Scanning barcodes from a website and faking walk-ins from home does not encourage the behavior that shopkick and the partnering stores desire.

Shopkick seems to have noticed those activities. The large amount of users commenting on the app about their ban from the app are an indicator for this. However, banning users is not the best possible solution. It reduces the number of users and might even hurt users by mistake that do not try to cheat the app.

Therefore, shopkick has to find better ways to prevent that type of fraud. One way to handle the recording and replay of the walk in sound, might be to install sound emitting devices that dynamically play the sound signal, i.e. changing the played sound after a certain time. In order to counteract  the fraudulent barcode scanning from websites, shopkick could only allow scans after a customer has checked in to the store buy getting walk in kicks.

Whatever solution shopkick will find, it has to do something about the current situation. Otherwise, the value of the app for the stores will be diminished. That might lead to less desirable rewards, or more kicks required to redeem the rewards. This in turn might decrease the attractiveness of the app to users, leading to a break of the current popularity.