Best Buy plots Shopkick experiment; Point-of-sale meets smartphone

Best Buy will launch an experiment Tuesday with Shopkick to integrate the mobile app into its point-of-sale system.

Best Buy will launch an experiment Tuesday with Shopkick to integrate the mobile app into its point-of-sale system.

Shopkick is a rewards based app scheduled to launch on the iPhone followed by Android. Best Buy plans to integrate its stores with the mobile app in 257 stores by Oct. 1. Starting Aug. 17, the Shopkick system will be running in 187 stores. Another 70 stores will be added by Oct. 1.

In a nutshell, a Best Buy customer with the Shopkick app would walk by a display and get rewards. These rewards can be converted into Best Buy certificates or redeemed. The idea is that shoppers wouldn't have to check-in or do anything for the rewards. The big question is whether consumers will really roam Best Buy stores in the name of Shopkick rewards. More often than not, I'm at Best Buy to get what I need and bolt. I'm not there to be pitched or to wander aimlessly.

The IT comes in when Best Buy integrates the Shopkick system to its point-of-sale systems. In theory, customers can walk up to the register, provide a mobile phone number and get discounts. Best Buy will experiment with promotions to see how customers respond. Forrester argues that Shopkick could generate traffic in stores.

If the rewards system it could get Best Buy more foot traffic among the tech enthusiast crowd---the type of people that would be playing with Shopkick in the first place.

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