We’ve written a bunch about Shopkick and its strategy to monetize location-based services and check-ins — an area where there’s still lots of question marks. Its biggest claim to fame is automatic check-ins that make it more mainstream friendly.
For those unfamiliar, it has placed sensors throughout retail partners’ stores that automatically check in users of its iPhone and Android apps. Those check-ins result in deals pushed to users, as well as unlocking “kickbucks” redeemable for store discounts — basically a loyalty play.
But Shopkick is also unlike many other check-in services (or most mobile local apps for that matter), in that it’s avoiding the “build it and they will come” strategy — “them” being advertisers. It’s been monetizing straight out of the gate with retail partners like Best Buy and Target.
These retailers like the ability to dynamically reward customer loyalty. And for users, it follows the mobile discovery trend, given that deals are pushed based on location or preferences. In Shopkick’s case it happens at the store level where intent is high and the last inch is in reach.
Today, the company boosts that aspect of the product with its 2.0 release (iTunes link). Among other things it gives users a “faves” area to control the deals they receive. This includes a list of favorite merchants, for example, which joins proximity in triggering what deals are pushed.
It also comes with a new list view for nearby deals and those available from favorite merchants. Users can also browse a new area that shows the most popular deals from its entire inventory. This all translates to more control for the user and better ability to browse, a la retail circular.
For now, the deals come from Shopkick retail partners alone, but we could soon see it boost appeal through a more comprehensive deal set that brings in feeds from The Dealmap or others (my speculation, not theirs). Short of that, expect direct retail partnerships to continue growing.
Update: The company tells me the new Faves section does actually bring in deals from retailers that aren’t Shopkick partners. In total there are about 250 stores users can browse and add to their Faves pages. And additionally, we expect more direct retail partnerships to keep coming.
Meanwhile it’s not doing so bad on the usage front with 1.5 million users. And unlike most app developers that boast download numbers, these are mostly active users. Specifically, 40 percent are active on a monthly basis, 20 percent weekly, and 5 percent to 10 percent daily.
On a percentage basis, that’s more than most companies in the LBS space can say.
Related: Join us July 18-19 in San Francisco for our Deals 3D conference, all about local deals. Should be a good one.