Earlier, we wrote about shopkick, a company with a different take on the whole check-in revolution as it relates to retail. But it's one thing to read about it, it's another to see it. That's exactly why shopkick invited several members of the press to a Best Buy in San Francisco this morning to see the app in action.
As you can see in the full 15-minute walk-through video below, the execution is impressive. The minute you enter a Best Buy location, your phone recognizes it and you get points and a message that there are deals available at this location. You can also use it to scan items and get more points and other potential deals.
Unlike other location-based apps, this doesn't use GPS (or even WiFi triangulation), instead this is a custom hardware plus app system shopkick created and installs in partner stores. This means no more fake check-ins and it allows the app to do some other potentially interesting things.
The most impressive element may be one that is still in the works. As you can see in our demo, as we walk around the Best Buy, our phones get pinged as we enter a new area with special deals - the home entertainment area, for example. That type of technology is already working obviously, but shopkick says that at first they're going to focus on the more basic walk-into-the-store experience.
While shopkick isn't a full-on rival to the popular Foursquare and others in the check-in space, it is interesting that they're going after the type of experience that those guys are trying to establish between consumers and retailers. As Foursquare's Tristan Walker said at our CrunchUp event last week, they're attempting to “socialize loyalty.” He also noted that everyone was looking for a location-based coupon Holy Grail that doesn't exist.
Shopkick seems to think it does, and that they've found it.
Update: Walker clarified to say that he meant the whole “show your phone” part of the coupons isn't going to work. He does think the location-based coupon Holy Grail exists. Something tells me he doesn't think shopkick has found it though.