The App as Personal Shopper


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The Holy Grail of consumer behavior may well exist in a product the size of our wallets, if not smaller, and one California company is out to leverage it with both thumbs.

Shopkick, the creator of the charitable application CauseWorld, has developed a second location-based mobile app and has landed some heavy hitters as its launch partners – Macy’s Inc. and Best Buy.

The new application, called shopkick, follows closely the concept of CauseWorld. But while CauseWorld is dedicated to charitable giving via the store aisle, shopkick is all about servicing the customer. Users of the app receive personalized offers, product information and tips on which stores have the best offers.

In turn, shopkick enables retailers to use cell phone technology to win customer loyalty and, ultimately, boost sales. At the same time, they can track lucrative data that will reveal, on a granular level, to which offers their most lucrative shoppers respond.

This is highly sought-out information for retailers, who are forever tweaking their inventory controls in an exercise that is as much art as it is science. Every sweater that sits on the shelf too long is one that goes on deep discount – great for shoppers, but it eats into profits. Retailers must prove themselves relevant in other ways – service and shopper experience, essentially – to counterbalance the consumer’s focus on price.

This is where I envision these apps can truly distinguishing the shopping experience. Say I’ve just entered the women’s section of Macy’s, and log on. Will a message immediately spring up alerting me to summer dress arrivals? Or maybe a personalized coupon on INC-brand apparel, knowing I just spent a fortune on the stuff a week before? If shopkick can do that, then cell phones may truly be able to transform physical stores into interactive worlds, as its founders envision.

Shopkick CEO and co-founder Cyriac Roeding said in a press release that the app was created “to reduce lost foot traffic and untargeted advertising in the physical retail world – and dramatically improve the consumer shopping experience.”

Let’s hope. Retailers can save real money on ineffective marketing, and maybe we won’t be inundated with messaging that is irrelevant. But I suspect it is still a long haul to capturing the Grail. We consumers have this habit of growing more and more savvy, and more fickle, at every turn.

But at least it keeps the aisle interesting.

Lisa Biank Fasig
Lisa leads the creation of editorials and feature stories for COLLOQUY and oversees the work of contributing editors and writers. With 18 years of reporting experience, most in business and specifically consumer behavior, she is highly skilled at researching data and teasing out the trends. A background in graphic design enables her to see ideas in three dimensions and tell the story visually.


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