There's no doubt that mobile has changed the game when it comes to shopping, whether that's enhancing your in-store experience like West Elm or curating a personalized feed of various brands like Spring. Another industry we've seen making moves into the mobile space: loyalty, cashback, and rewards-based platforms.

Consumers are leveraging mobile technology more and more to find coupons and rewards for their everyday needs. In fact, it was recently reported that 68% of users are looking for deals and offers when shopping through mobile apps. One brand making it even easier for users to earn on their mobile purchases— Shopkick— recently announcing partnerships with Groupon, Boxed, eBay, Spring, and others. And not only are users able to earn on actual purchases, but also by simply engaging with these brands.

"By being the only company who offers rewards for mobile browsing, we are innovating in the arena where consumer attention is increasingly focused," said Bill Demas, CEO of Shopkick. "Rewards give users value back for the time they spend engaging with us and our partners— and everyone wins."

Demas will be sharing more about Shopkick's mobile strategy at TAP later this month, on September 28, but in the meantime, we caught up with him to hear a bit more. Don't forget to join us if you haven't already registered; we have a stellar lineup this year that you won't want to miss and if you put in the code "TAP-Content50" at checkout you can score 50% off your ticket!

What is Shopkick's unique brand identity and positioning within the mobile shopping world that encourages the best retailers and brands to work with you?

BD: Shopkick offers brands and retailers the opportunity to incentivize shopping behavior using rewards, not discounts. We are the only app that makes shopping fun for our users through social gamification, both online and offline. With mobile shopping, this means connecting our partners with shoppers all along the path to purchase— from online offers through to online store visits, and ultimately sales. Our partners preserve their margins while associating their brands with the moments of joy Shopkick delivers every day.

How have the resources of working within a large, global organization aided Shopkicks' growth? Do you have plans to continue to expand internationally?

BD: SK Planet has provided additional resources for us to be able to expand our offerings for both partners and consumers. We entered the grocery category earlier this year, and most recently expanded into mobile shopping. Given the population and opportunity in the US, we're currently focused here. International expansion opportunities are abundant and will happen after this year.

Shopkick builds a bridge between mobile and in-store shopping. How does this data benefit your partners and ultimately your users?

BD: Our goal is to help marketers make better decisions both online and offline. More than data, we're focused on driving insights to help them increase ROI. We're able to connect the dots because we are both in-store and online. We bridge the gap between what users are doing on the desktop, in mobile web, in-app and in the physical world.

"Challenges common to marketers today include multi-channel attribution, and executing an omnichannel strategy despite traditional silos."— Bill Demas

Shopkick solves both of these issues, offering an all-in-one solution from awareness (lookbooks and videos in-app), to putting the product into the shopper's hand at a shelf or facilitating engagement with online offers, through to purchase.

Our location-based technology allows us to send contextually relevant offers to our users, and to understand how they are engaging with our partners' products from their couch at home to checkout online or in-store.

You recently announced new mobile shopping capabilities for users to earn Kicks for browsing and shopping on mobile. How do you see the mobile space evolving over the next five years?

BD: There are three specific future trends that we are watching closely in the mobile space as it relates to the shopping experience:

  1. Computer Vision: Our most advanced computers are still in the infancy of true object / image recognition. The advent of computer vision will power the next generation of retail experiences. Video feeds will be processed into valuable and helpful information allowing both customers, merchants, and marketers to myriad experience in stores, and beyond
  2. Conversational Interfaces: Voice interfaces will become more seamlessly woven into our daily lives and shopping experiences. The notion of being able to say "Check out" aloud in a store, and then being immediately greeted by a clerk who can finalize your purchase is only one example. Similarly, a child who declares "Mom, we're out of milk!" at the kitchen table will be heard by listening interfaces, and prompt parents to add 'milk' to the shopping list.
  3. Sentiment Analysis: While areas like social media behavioral targeting become more and more commoditized, solutions that also live in the physical world will also take hold in the form of sentiment analysis. Whether through on-shelf camera, or using the smart phones, brands and retailers will be able to measure a customer's sentiment with a product in real-time.

What is Shopkick's mobile commerce strategy? Are you looking to drive branding, engagement, buying or all of the above? How do those elements work together?

Shopkick's New Online Shopping Category

BD: Our mobile commerce strategy, much like our offline strategy, drives engagement all along the path to purchase from awareness to consideration to check out. Shoppers receive 'kicks', our Shopkick currency, for visiting a mobile retail partner while at home, browsing mobile offers and products, and purchasing online. By offering moments of joy and fun to our users, we are able to drive branding, engagement, and purchase.

What is the biggest challenge you see with app-to-app partnerships? How is Shopkick addressing that challenge?

"In an app-to-app partnership environment, it's critical to ensure shoppers experience a seamless, integrated experience that facilitates the trust necessary for mobile shopping."— Bill Demas

BD: Our goal is to provide the best experience for users while also making sure partners are able to meet their objectives. We work with partners to ensure that our users don't have a confusing or disjointed experience when moving from content on the Shopkick platform to browse offers on our partner sites. We obsess over our user experience in everything we do, and tons of user testing went into our new mobile shopping offering.

What portion of your business do you expect will be mobile vs in-store in 2020?

BD: While mobile shopping is on the rise, brick-and-mortar stores are not going away. Take our partner Fabletics, which started online and later created a brick and mortar footprint. What will change is how these two channels work together. Physical stores will exist much more to provide an experience than for simple transactional purchases, and Shopkick is part of that experience.

Our mobile commerce offering is new and we expect it to grow exponentially in the coming years, however this does not necessarily come at the expense of our brick-and-mortar presence. In fact, we expect to create a seamless, complimentary offering across channels. For example, if a shopper is unable to find a particular product in-store, we will be able to reward them for quickly purchasing it then and there via the Shopkick app. The shopping environment will be much more blended, and we are well positioned to offer a fun, rewarding experience across shopping channels.