Citi has again joined forces with mobile app developer shopkick, this time to sponsor the wider rollout of the shopkick app and additional location-based technology to help deliver foot traffic to small and medium businesses and rewards to their shoppers. The same shopkick technology is already being used by major national retailers to reward customers who visit their stores.
In this deal, Citi is sponsoring the installation of a small shopkick "signal box" for free at the first 1,000 selected small, local stores to enable them to launch a walk-in rewards program. Citi is also covering the cost of the rewards claimed at those retailers. The signal box emits an inaudible sound from a patent-pending device located in each participating retailer. Shoppers who have downloaded the shopkick app to their mobile device can then verify their visit in-store and begin earning shopkick's rewards currency called "kicks."
In announcing the plan, Cyriac Roeding, co-founder and CEO of shopkick, said: "We will do for small and medium-sized local stores what we have done for large, national chains: drive foot traffic. It's the single, hardest problem to solve -- and the most valuable driver of success --- for both retail and service businesses. With shopkick, stores also have the potential to increase basket size and margins, improve shopper engagement, and build customer frequency. Shopkick's new program will help small and medium businesses in a big way."
For his part, Christopher Kay, Head of Ventures, Citi Ventures, said, "Shopkick is the leading mobile shopping app and drives measurable foot traffic to its retail partners. We're happy to help make that shopper engagement and customer retention available to smaller businesses."
Citi, through its Citi Ventures unit, was an early investor in shopkick and previously sponsored its CauseWorld mobile app, which allowed users to turn "karma points" earned from store visits into real dollar donations. (Users can now use the shopkick app to earn karma points and make donations.)
Shopkick is accepting applications from small and medium businesses in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Seattle, Dallas, Austin, New Orleans, Detroit and Washington at shopkick.com/local. The shopkick app, downloaded 1.8 million times since its launch 10 months ago, is available for free on the iPhone from the App Store and on Android Market.