CVS Turns To Shopkick To Boost Mobile Retail

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Mobile loyalty service shopkick Tuesday announced CVS as its latest retail partner, with a pilot program launching at the national drug chain's stores in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The alliance marks shopkick's first with a pharmacy retailer after teaming with various retail brands, such as Best Buy, Macy's and American Eagle Outfitters. The new deal includes a special offer of $5 off purchases for shoppers using the shopkick app who visit the initial group of 150 participating CVS stores in the Bay Area.

Users typically earn kicks for walking into a participating shopkick retail location, as well as by scanning barcodes for select products while shopping. Points can be redeemed for gift cards, song downloads, movie tickets and other rewards.

In addition, CVS customers who have linked their credit cards to shopkick's “Buy & Collect” program can get additional points when they make purchases with a MasterCard or Visa card. Doug Galen, shopkick's chief revenue officer, stated that CVS was a big addition for the company's users, since many CVS/pharmacy customers typically shop several times per week.

Through its mobile site and app for the iPhone, Android and other devices, CVS has already extended its ExtraCare rewards program to mobile. Its mobile loyalty “card” can be scanned at most CVS registers. But Rob Price, the company's chief marketing officer, said the deal with shopkick would further expand its mobile capabilities for digitally inclined customers.

Data released by Nielsen last week showed shopkick was the fourth-ranked shopping app based on audience behind eBay Mobile, Amazon Mobile and Group. In June, the app had 6.5 million unique visitors who spent, on average, three hours and 19 minutes with the app during the month. The next-closest in time spent was eBay Mobile, at 1:04.

The same study showed CVS rival Walgreens, which has pushed aggressively into the mobile space, ranked No. 6 among shopping apps, with an audience of 2.8 million in June.

During the 2011 holiday season, Walgreens had one of the largest mobile-only coupon programs through its apps, and earlier this year it teamed with Foursquare on a pilot providing special offers to customers who checked into Walgreens stores.

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