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Digital Coupons Beamed to Shoppers' Cells in the Mall

Simon Property Group has teamed up with a Silicon startup, Shopkick, to give its retailers a new option with digital couponing: an application that beams offers to shoppers as they walk by the stores.

Simon Property Group is one of the largest retail real estate owners in the country, with some 370 shopping centers. It will be launching this program in 25 of its stores in New York, Chicago, southern California and San Francisco, with plans to introduce it in 100 centers over the next several months. (via the AP).

This is how the application works: retailers install the Shopkick application on small speakers at the entrance to their stores. These emit an inaudible sound – which contains a code for the store – that is picked up by cellphones’ microphones. Consumers need to have the Shopkick app on their phones to receive any offers.

The Future of Retail

Shopkick is fueling several new retailer online applications. It is the partner behind Best Buy’s location-based service that rewards shoppers when they enter a store- without having them check in. Best Buy plans to introduce it in several additional markets in the coming weeks.

Similar to the Simon Property offering, Best Buy integrated Shopkick directly into its point of sale system in its San Francisco store. When the Shopkick app is open on the smart phone, it detects the signal technology installed in the retail location as the consumer walks through the door, and the shopper instantly receives rewards, called "kickbucks."

kickbucks can be immediately redeemed for Facebook credits, songs from Napster, in-store cash-back rewards at shopkick partner stores, magazine subscriptions, or donations to charities.

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