All posts tagged ‘location-based services’

by AllisonAugust 17, 2010

Location-Based Shopping: Can shopkick Keep Kids in the Mall?

The much-hyped and long-awaited shopkick app launched yesterday with a press event at an American Eagle store in New York's Times Square. The location-based shopping service, which lets users earn rewards for in-store activities, already has big brand partners including Best Buy, Sports Authority, Macy's and Simon Malls.

Here's how the app works:

  • Open the app in a participating store, and it automatically delivers the user "kickbucks," which can be redeemed for free stuff from partner merchants.
  • Users can collect more kickbucks for trying on clothes and scanning a barcode in the dressing room (at American Eagle, at least) and for scanning the barcodes on other specified products.
  • The app will also show current offers taking place in the store -- some are for anyone and some are unique to shopkick. Clicking "use this offer" will show the user a code they can present at the register.
  • shopkick can also deliver personalized offers bases on past user behavior (which is what Barcode Hero is also attempting to do.)
  • Users can also earn kickbucks for visiting non-participating retailers, they just won't get any special in-store deals.

Unlike some other location-based services, shopkick is leading with a business model. They are all about immediate monetization: The idea is to translate performance-based online revenue models into the real world. Cost-per-click becomes cost-per-visit. It also closes the loop between promotion and purchase, tracking precisely who took action on an offer or, in marketing speak, how many "conversions" there were. Retailers only pay when people go to their store, check out their products, and buy stuff. This makes the app a much easier sell.

Not that the sell was all that hard to begin with, we imagine. Retailers must be feeling threatened by the likes of Amazon and Red Laser and eager to provide a reason to stay in their stores.  There has been a "frenzy" around Foursquare but, as Adweek reported, some brands are finding it hard to get involved with that hot mobile social service. shopkick is taking a decidedly brand-friendly approach, providing a way for them to add utility and fun to the in-store  shopping experience while also packaging it in ways their marketing and media teams can understand.

shopkick's value is not in creating a social experience, and in that sense its closer to MyTown than Foursquare anyway. The appeal is earning real money, not social currency. However, they do plan to build in social elements to help spread its growth. shopkick has also found that retail partners are eager to promote the application through their traditional marketing channels (mostly in-store signage), which will be crucial to its success.

Also crucial to success will be teen girls. They seem to be shopkick's sweet spot, and most of their current partners (Simon Malls, American Eagle Outfitters, Macy's...) want to reach this target audience. The app itself has a very playful feel (burst bubbles to collect your points!) and feels like a big game. It's perfect for killing time at the mall with friends and getting free stuff -- both popular teen pastimes. Even the rewards currently on the app seem designed to appeal to teens -- Facebook credits, cause donations, gift cards and DVDs of "Twilight" and "Sex and the City."

Here's the rub: not many teens can currently use the application. See, shopkick uses a very cool technology to detect a user's location: An audio signal is sent from a device located in each participating store. The app detects this signal, knows which store you are in, and gives you points. This is a very clever, innovative (and probably costly) way to detect location on a granular level, beyond what other methods including GPS and cell-tower triangulation are capable of. However, most teens do not have iPhones. While they may WANT one and even  SAY they are going to buy one, mom and dad might not be in on these plans. Currently about 15% of teens actually own one, according to a recent Piper Jaffray survey. Many teens get their app fix through the iPod Touch, but shopkick's audio-based technology does not work on that device because it does not have a microphone.

Of course, the service just launched, so it's impossible to say exactly what audiences the app is most popular with and how they are using it. Much of that will come out in time, and shopkick will surely launch on other platforms as well. But it also goes to show how important it is to weigh technological innovation against consumer behavior.

by SarahAugust 13, 2010

Tweetworthy: Foursquare Swag, Everything is Clickable, IKEA QR Assembly, and More

1. Foursquare launches official store, get your buttons and swag

2. Apple hints at future haptic feedback tech

3. Good futures thinking around augmented reality: "Everything is Clickable"

4. Can QR Codes Make Assembling Ikea Furniture Easier?

5. Keiichi Matsuda - Augmented City [in 3D]

6. The story behind the 2010 startup success: Siri (why it’s so important to Apple’s future)

7. This QR Code is made from a 56 oz bag of M&M's

8. Museum of Natural History demonstrates the power of mobile by properly integrating

9. Coca Cola intro'd first printed coupon in 1887, see what has changed since then w/ "the mobile coupon guide"

10. Tour of SimpleGeo reveals why location services can’t get along

Tweetworthy is a weekly roundup of the most shared tweets from @MobileBehavior. You can follow us on Twitter here.

by AllisonAugust 6, 2010

DailyCandy Goes Beyond the Inbox with Location-Based App

image via

Womens' lifestyle newsletter DailyCandy took their sweet time getting into mobile, but what they've ultimately done is worth the wait.

Their new Android app called DailyCandy Stylish Alerts is much more than just mobile-formatted content. Rather, it will alert the user to DailyCandy deals when they are near a store offering one.
This geo-aware approach is the right move at the right time. As Jenna Wortham from the New York Times points out:

Applications that run in the background and alert users with a coupon or special offer as they walk by a store have been something of a holy grail for the mobile phone.

But until recent advances in smartphone software, it has largely been impossible to do efficiently, said Josh Rochlin, the chief executive of Xtify, the New York-based geo-notification company powering the DailyCandy application.

“Instead of physically taking the device out of my pocket and checking into a location, this is taking advantage of passively knowing a user’s location and passing down relevant information,” said Mr. Rochlin.

While this sort of push technology can potentially create distracting real-world spam, Daily Candy already has an engaged, trusting audience, which goes a long way. Also, the app is reaching people who have raised their hands and said "Yes! Show me deals!"

While it's odd that an app launch on Android first, the reason is likely that the iPhone did not until recently allow developers to build apps that run in the background, which this one does. iPhone is coming soon, though, they say. It would also be smart for them to try out geofencing technology, which works through SMS -- no app required.

by CalebJuly 20, 2010

Location-Based Services: Competition Pushes the Check-In Forward

As the location space heats up, various contenders are looking to for ways to differentiate themselves. This week, Brightkite, Loopt, and SCVNGR all announced new features and thinking around the way people check-in.

Brightkite's badge system now includes levels. This is similar to how Miso rewards users as either a Newbie, Fan, or Enthusiast. According to Techcrunch:

If you use their mobile website or one of their many mobile apps to post 10 photos, you’ll earn a ‘Slick pic’ badge at level 1. You can monitor your progress in a status bar on the badge, which will be visible on the web or your iPhone. Once you get to level 1, Brightkite will tell you what to do to get to level 2, and so on.

SCVNGR has introduced bump enabled social check-ins. From Mashable:

The startup has launched the “social checkin,” a new feature in the SCVNGR Android and iPhone applications that encourages friends to bump phones (or make the fist bump gesture simultaneously) to check in together at the same time and place.

It’s like a modern day version of clinking glasses or giving high fives to friends at a bar, but with a very obvious social media twist that has the potential to be both data rich and rewarding for the users who participate.

Loopt has officially rolled out automatic check-ins, called "proximity alerts," something many in this space have been expecting for a while now. According to MobileMarketingWatch:

It’s now possible to know where you’re friends are at, regardless of whether they checked-in or not. The addition takes advantage of the background location feature of the iPhone and Android platforms, and comes with explicit sharing options to manage what’s shared and how often. Only users that mutually share data with one another can receive alerts. Alerts and background location are all opt-in, so a simple settings change can turn the feature on or off. You can also choose to exclude some of your friends from your background location sharing options.

Each of these services is developing a culture, something that cannot be easily replicated. Through their decisions, they continue to define themselves both through brand partnerships and added features, attempting to capture a certain corner of the market. The space is healthy with competition, and we expect to see a lot more innovation to come.

by SarahJuly 7, 2010

Turf Wars: Gowalla and the New Jersey Nets Invade New York

Overlooking Madison Square Garden is a fresh new mural that is causing quite a stir. The advertisement features the New Jersey Nets, backed by owner and Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov and minority owner Jay-Z. A mobile call to action using Gowalla is also featured.

According to Techcrunch:

As it indicates, there’s actually a Nets’ Blueprint for Greatness venue on Gowalla (created at the spot of the billboard) that users can check-in to in order to receive a special collectable item. And because Gowalla, unlike Foursquare, requires you to position yourself with GPS when you check-in, it’s basically impossible to cheat in order to get the item — you have to actually go there.

This is an interesting execution for a variety of reasons. The most obvious is that both Gowalla and the Nets are in direct opposition with the NYC majority. Foursquare and the Knicks have a passionate following, some are upset by this intrusion and are demanding the mural be taken down.

That being said, this is the work of VaynerMedia. We've covered how the company is helping both underdogs achieve social media ROI. This is a gutsy (and buzz building) move, but an optimistic effort to push the startup to New York's mainstream. It's also not the first time we've been able to check-in to an outdoor ad.

by CalebJune 22, 2010

Time Shifting: Yellow Disks Present the Hidden History of Southwark's Streets

In the London borough of Southwark, City Insights Ltd is seeding signs with a mobile call-to-action, leading the passerby to time shift reality.

The yellow disks, as seen above, have popped up in 40 locations across the SE1 borough as part of the London Festival of Architecture. Each sign is strategically placed to note that something conspicuous has happened close by and direct people to a mobile web page where passersby can read all about it.

Keep a sharp eye out for the disks, anyone spotting them can get quick mobile access to stories such as the Red Cross Street cemetery for prostitutes, the Great Fire of Tooley Street and the origins of the Design Museum.

Mobile phones let us tap into historical information about a specific place. We may physically navigate our cities in the present, but  digitally annotated reality will provide us a view into their past. GRAFFYARD, Streetmuseum, and The World Park all demonstrate this idea well.

[via PSFK]

by CalebMay 21, 2010

Tweetworthy: QR Sand Castle, Curated Computing, Google's Froyo, and More

1. The king and queen of location-based services

2. QR Code Sand Castle

3. Location Detection Technologies

4. iPhone app helps avoid killing yourself while texting

5. Photo gallery: Japan’s SoftBank shows 13 new, Twitter-powered cell phones

6. 5 Up & Coming Mobile Technologies

7. Sensaris enables action driven citizens to improve share environmental data

8. Trend Watch: Curated Computing

9. Total mobile LBS revenues to reach $12.7B by 2014

10. Google Serves Up Froyo, the Latest Android OS

Tweetworthy is a weekly roundup of the most shared tweets from @MobileBehavior. You can follow us on Twitter here.

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