How shopkick Exposed My Social Retail Wounds
I feel like a fraud, a quack. There is a blemish on my license to practice social medicine, and I have to make a confession before we go any further. My problem is that I love the idea of retail apps and gadgets, but I'm afraid to actually use them in stores. If I'm scared, (and I'm a professional!) how do retail apps and gadgets stand a chance of really catching on?
A quick example: I got a nifty gadget at CEA Line Shows in New York last year called the MoBeam nümi key. The keychain-sized gadget stores all of your loyalty cards, so you can just carry it around and point it into the cashier's scanner when you check out. I loaded up my CVS and ShopRite cards, and then I never ever used it. This is not any reflection on the gadget -it's not you, it's me. I can't help but picture the cashier looking at me like I'm crazy while I try to explain that this gadget is legitimate, with 20 angry people behind me waiting in line.
I don't like to assume the worst so I decided I was going to go to my local Best Buy and try out the shopkick app. Shopkick is a location-based app for your phone that allows you to check-in at participating stores and scan products to earn points called kickbucks. The kickbucks can be redeemed for discounts and prizes. I'd been interested in shopkick since I first heard of it, and with the rising popularity of location-based services like foursquare and Facebook Places, I thought it would be interesting to try one specifically for retail.
I gathered myself, walked in the door, and asked the greeter if he knew how I could use shopkick. Well I was wrong; he didn't look at me like I was crazy. Instead he looked at me like I had just said something absolutely terrifying. I assured him it was nothing to worry about, and proceeded into the store.