Of the many portable technologies available, the cell phone is the one most of us carry at all times. Whether channel surfing or going to the mall, there’s usually a smartphone within reach. So it stands to reason that television marketers would want to find new ways to reach consumers via their mobile devices. Indeed, TV networks and marketers have been exploring the world of apps, including shopping apps, as a new frontier to connect with potential viewers. One in particular that’s gaining traction is the mobile shopping app shopkick. The CW became the first TV network to partner with shopkick earlier this year, unveiling their deal at the network’s upfront presentation in the spring. Via the shopkick partnership, The CW’s advertisers will be able to use shopkick to offer rewards if viewers visit the stores of advertisers. A retailer, for instance, could encourage viewers to use the app to cash in rewards onsite. Such shopper marketing apps are gaining popularity in general because they close the loop between watching an ad and the desired behavior — visiting a store and buying something. An app that delivers rewards and incentives can increase the likelihood of a transaction, the marketer’s goal. The shopkick social app works by allowing users to collect rewards when they visit various retailers in the shopkick stable. The shopkick partnership will kick in officially when a participating advertiser is currently running ads on The CW, likely later this year. The social app would then work by picking up the audio of the ad and sending the app owner rewards and offers. “We’re always looking for new ways to connect with our viewers,” said Rick Haskins, EVP of new technologies, digital marketing and brand strategy at The CW. “shopkick is an innovative mobile app that really brings the second screen experience to life in a way that both we and our advertisers have been looking for, by connecting our young audience with two of their favorite things – shopping and watching The CW.” Still, shopkick is not the only mobile app aiming to close the loop between viewers and buyers. A myriad of shopping apps are available on smartphones, so shopkick will face competition from companies like Zazum, a shopping app that lets viewers learn more about or even purchase items they see on TV shows or movies. But shopkick’s focus is driving foot traffic for retailers, and shopkick is betting on the central role the phone not only plays in consumers’ lives but in their TV viewing habits. Since launching in August 2010, shopkick has delivered 700 million product views on its app and expects to surpass 1 billion this year. What’s more, the app has recorded more than 2 million “walk-ins” to stores, meaning every time shopkick app users actually go inside a shopkick-enabled retailer. Users open the app about 14 days a month, a high usage rate compared to most apps. Though shopkick taps into some of the same consumer behaviors driving the daily deals business, the app is more focused on loyalty and retention rather than slashed prices, which could bode well for advertisers looking for media partnerships.


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