Devices Reward Consumers


Being connected at work can help you be more productive; connecting your business can help you earn or save more money. But once you earn that money, it makes sense to use the connected devices and technologies at our fingertips to get the best deals possible, whether at the home-improvement store down the street or the local coffee shop.

Several smartphone applications aimed at mobilizing the retail experience help consumers do just that—optimize their resources by providing up-to-date data and Web services. One of the most popular connected shopping apps, shopkick,, has just joined forces with MasterCard,, to further enhance the experience while bringing it to a wider audience.

shopkick, which first launched in 2010, uses location-based technology (its patent-pending “shopkick Signal”) to detect when a smartphone with its free mobile app installed enters a participating retailer. When shopkick customers step foot in one of more than 250,000 shopkick-partner locations—including retailers such as American Eagle Outfitters, Best Buy, Crate and Barrel, Macy’s, Old Navy, The Sports Authority, and Target, among many others—they automatically receive “kicks” or points to their account. These points are ultimately redeemable as rewards, discounts, and other money-saving offers. 

Thanks to the new partnership with MasterCard, cardholders are now eligible to earn more special offers by linking their MasterCard with a shopkick account and earning points for making purchases at participating U.S. retailers. Similar to shopkick’s Visa partnership announced last November, cardholders must opt-in to the “Buy & Collect” program to link their credit cards and begin earning “kicks” for qualifying purchases.

The companies say in addition to everyday opportunities to earn kicks by simply walking into a participating store or mall, consumers can earn 250 “bonus kicks” for each MasterCard card they link to the Buy & Collect program, but only for a limited time.

Besides offering money-saving deals to consumers looking to use the connected technologies at their fingertips, mobile-retail strategies help businesses engage customers in a deeper, more meaningful way.

Partnerships like the MasterCard/shopkick relationship leverage today’s technologies, helping retailers harness location-based services to increase foot traffic and sales. Especially in an age where “showrooming”—when consumers come to physical stores to look, then turn to online merchants to buy—is a primary concern of many retailers, making an effort to reach consumers on their level is a smart proposition.

Whether this takes the form of retailer-branded apps, location-based rewards programs like shopkick, or other innovative ways to integrate technology and connected devices into the retail experience, this type of technology provides a glimpse into the future of shopping. This future looks to be on where the tech-savvy customer is more informed, thanks to the accessibility of realtime data, than ever before.

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June/July 2014
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