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Shopkick: get rewarded for shopping

Updated on December 29, 2012

When I read the app description for Shopkick, I was intrigued. Here is an app that rewards users for shopping. Is this really possible? Does it really work? What strings are attached?

The crux of Shopkick is the points or "kicks" that shoppers accrue by visiting select retailers, scanning highlighted items, and finding bonus kicks hidden among product listings. These kicks can be redeemed for gift cards for retailers such as Target or Starbucks or for items like a mixer or hair straightener.

I downloaded it onto my Android phone, although it is also available for Apple. The first thing I did was take a tour of the app. At first glance, it is a cross between Pinterest and the Sunday newspaper ads. Stores are featured on cards which you flip through by flicking to the left until you find a retailer of interest. Tap that card, and different item categories appear represented by eye-catching pictures. Tap a category, and products and deals appear one at a time. If you find an item that you like, tap the "i" in the bottom right hand corner. Further information and pricing slides up from the bottom of the card, and you have the options to like a product for further review or tap a picture of a paper airplane to share the item by email or text message. Bonus kicks are hidden between the pages of goodies.

A majority of kicks will come from what shoppers do naturally, shopping. Simply make sure the data and GPS capabilities are enabled on your device, turn on the app, and enter a merchant enrolled in the Shopkick program. To find area participating retailers, tap the "Find kicks waiting nearby" tab at the bottom of the screen. Blue circles appear revealing how many kicks are available in surrounding cities and along the top of the display are little speech bubbles with different store logos. Your phone will ding to register your participation as you walk through the merchant's door, and your kicks will be added to your account. Special bonus sales are loaded onto the screen, as well as items to scan for even more kicks. To scan an item, tap the picture of the item you would like to scan, read the description to make sure you have the correct item (If it is not the exact item, the app will let you know, and you will not receive the kicks.), tap again and point your camera at the product bar code. The camera will auto-focus and scan the bar code on its own. Voila! More kicks are added to your account.

Shopkick now offers more opportunities for kicks by registering your credit card with them. They will not charge the card, and they promise it is secure. After registering your card, spend away at Shopkick retailers and watch your kick total climb.

My experience: I have used Shopkick for a couple of weeks and have visited two participating retailers. I occasionally flip through the ads to hunt for bargains and interesting products. While at one of the retailers, I went on a little scavenger hunt. It was fun until I ran into a couple products that I couldn't find the exact items to scan. The scanner always read the bar codes and let me know if the product was correct or not. There were also some special deals that popped up like discounts off of clothing or snacks. I have not linked a credit card yet but am considering it. After about two weeks of light use, I almost have enough for a Target gift card. Shopkick is a fun app, and while you won't get rich using it, you really do get rewarded.

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