Shopkick Adds In-App Buying From 30 Big Chains

Shopkick is adding in-app purchasing for 30 retail partners—and very pointedly not including Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), according to TechCrunch.

The new feature represents yet another shift for a company whose app just did retailer check-ins only a couple years ago. Last fall, the app added the ability for customers to browse online catalogs from its partners, flag products they liked, then be notified when they walked into a Shopkick-partner store that has the item in stock.

Last week's announcement pushes that just a little further, allowing the customer to buy from those catalogs immediately. Shopkick-partner chains participating in the program include Target, Macy's, Best Buy, Old Navy, Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters and some two dozen others.

Shopkick CEO Cyriac Roeding characterizes the purchasing feature as an anti-showrooming move—"Using our app to buy goods means you will be buying goods from the actual stores, not Amazon. We are the anti-Amazon coalition," he told TechCrunch. That's a bit of a stretch, since the most common form of showrooming is already customers shopping in a store and then buying online from the same chain. Exactly how adding Shopkick to the loop would make it even more anti-Amazon is a bit mysterious.

In practice, to the degree that Shopkick is driving business to its partners—and, admittedly, getting a small piece of the action—it may be worth the trouble. When Shopkick launched in 2009, its check-in system seemed more than a little useless. You want to collect "kicks"? Hit a dozen stores in a mall in succession, collect your points and be on your way, no purchase required.

But over the past year or so, Shopkick has become something more like a shopping companion. It's getting a billion product views every quarter, Roeding says, so someone is using it. If nothing else, the new buying feature will let retailers see exactly how much business Shopkick is driving.

For more:

- See this TechCrunch story

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