Yesterday, we wrote about Future Checkin, a third-party app that uses Foursquare’s API to check you in to a location without you having to actually hit any buttons to check-in. In fact, you can keep your phone in your pocket and it will work. Today, shopkick is teaming up with Best Buys around the U.S. to offer something similar. But with an important twist: without doing anything, you are rewarded for walking into retail stores. And you can’t fake a check-in with their method.
“This is the intersection of the mobile and the physical world,” shopkick co-founder Cyriac Roeding says. “You turn an offline store into an interactive experience,” he continues.
All of this works by way of a mobile application. The app is able to tell when you walk into a store (Best Buy, in this case) — and where you are in the store (that’s the future plan anyway, but shopkick demoed it today). But the key is that the user is in the store — not in the parking lot or simply close by. This works because “shopkick Signal” technology is installed in the retail stores. This isn’t about GPS.
This signal can’t pass through walls, shopkick says. Again, they’re trying to make sure no one can game this system.
“Check-Ins are a really nice start. Unfortunately, most of them are fake,” Roeding says. “That’s not so great when you have a business model in mind that’s supposed to do something for both parties.”
With this tech, a consumer walks in the door and they automatically receive deals for that store. To redeem them, they can simply tell the cashier their phone number and the deal is automatically applied.
There’s also a new virtual currency shopkick has created called “kickbucks” — these can be redeemed for Facebook credits, songs from Napster, or immediate cash-back rewards at partner stores among other things. You can also use these kickbucks to donate to charity.
This is all about foot-traffic. So far, no one has nailed a way to entice people to actually come to the store that makes sense to the retailer, Roeding says.
“This is the physical world equivalent of an online click,” Roeding says.
We’ll have some videos up shortly showing this app (which will be out in the next few weeks) in action.
Update: And here’s our video walk-through.