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Shopkick Android and iPhone App Review - get rewards and great deals for shopping and browsing

[UPDATE: May 29, 2012 - After the latest update for Shopkick there was an incredible promotion going on at Target which gave you a bunch of Kicks just for showing up at Target and more for scanning products. The only problem? It never made a connection so I never got all of those Kicks and I wasted quite a bit of time and pissed off my wife.]

The Wall Street Journal calls Shopkick "the number one shopping app." Hey, I shop. And I like things that are number one. And best of all, it's free. So I downloaded it.

Shopkick is an app that automatically gives you rewards called "kicks" when you visit certain stores and/or check out specific items. Then once you've acculated enough "kicks" you can trade them in to purchase a pretty large variethy of products and services including Facebook credits (which I frankly have no idea what those are), iTune gift cards, a Bluetooth headset, even a cruise (good luck accumulating enough for that one). Add to that the fact that they notify you with some pretty amazing deals at the stores you love, makes it so that shopping is a more fun experience. I even agreed to go to the mall with my wife (not something I usually do voluntarily) just for "kicks."

It's unlike other "check-in" apps in that it actually gives you something for your activity. Sometimes you even get "kicks" for just entering the store. If the marketing people at retail outlets don't see the benefit of this technology then maybe the companies should start their search for new marketing people.

Some of the stores included on the Shopkick list are Best Buy, Macy's and Target and they say that their list is growing monthly. I'm sure that's true because at last count the number of users on iPhone and Android devices had surpassed 1.5 million.

So, how does it work? First, go to you app store on either your iPhone or Android device and search for Shopkick. Download it, register and you're set to go.

I decided to give it a try at Best Buy (the video demonstration is below). I opened the app and clicked on the Nearby tab, which showed me all of the participating (and I think some unparticipating) stores and my distance from them. I entered Best Buy and my phone gave me a "Woohoo" informing me that 55 points were added to my account. I then clicked on the Scan tab and was shown a number of products within Best Buy that I could find and scan to earn even more "kicks."

I wasn't able to locate the exact printers they had on their scan list, but I was able to scan ink cartridges, cameras and GPS systems and accumulated 125 points before leaving the store.

As I explored the participating stores in the app, some of them gave me "kicks" just for clicking on them.

If you click on the Faves tab you will find a number of nearby offers at participating stores like JC Penny, Target and others. One of the links was to Treats & Eats and offered deals on food at Panda Express, TGI Fridays, Olive Garden and other restaurants. Since I eat almost every day, I like this area.

From time to time you will also receive Shopkick messages with coupons and other deals at particpating stores. So, how do you use one of these deal offers? Here's what the Shopkick help page tells you:

"I just got a Best Buy offer! Now how do I redeem it?

Tell the cashier at Best Buy that you are a shopkick user and give them your cell phone number, and have the cashier type in your cell phone number into the RZ/SK number entry field on their cash register. Any applicable shopkick discount will automatically and magically appear on your receipt. :)"

Sounds good, but I can see that it might be an issue if the cashier isn't familiar with the procedures. We'll see.

All in all it seems like an excellent marketing tool for stores and a great way to save some money and explore new products for consumers.

The Rewards tab, which gives you a list of the products and services you can get for your "kicks" includes low end items like a Best Buy $2.00 gift card for 500 kicks, up to a Princess Cruise for 6, 250,000 kicks.

I want the cruise. So, let's just do a quick calculation. If I can get 100 "kicks" every time I visit Best Buy I will only have to visit the store 62,500 times to get enough "kicks" for the trip. If I go there every day, I'll be ready to pack my bags in a mere 171 years.

Okay, maybe I should just get some iTunes.

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