If your like most of us you are a member of at least half a dozen rewards programs – your local grocery store, coffee shops,  drug stores, gas stations, the list goes on. Your key chain and wallet contain numerous loyalty cards. Some  can go by phone number assuming you can remember the number you used. Maybe you’ve downloaded one of the many loyalty card apps in an attempt to consolidate. Now along comes shop kick, a loyalty program with a twist. Shop Kick is a loyalty rewards mobile app that can provide you with rewards not only for purchases but also for just being present at a retailers location. You can even earn points by simply scanning in the bar code of select items. Participating retailers and manufacturers dictate the specifics but overall a really neat concept.

Shop kick runs across multiple retailers informing users of deals and discounts, recommendations and rewards.  The app can detect when you’ve entered a participating retail space – the retailer simply places a Bluetooth beacon by the entrance. You don’t need have shop kick running to use it either – both iPhone and Android support “wake up” style notifications to apps. An app like Shop Kick maintains a cache of beacon identifiers it’s interested in and registers these with your phone. When your phone comes across one of these beacons it starts up the app and it’s off to the races.

The company was started in 2009 but only released their first beta “location aware” offering in November of 2013. Dubbed shopBeacon trials are running simultaneously at Macy’s Herald Square, New York and Union Square, San Francisco. For retailers and manufacturers that wish to participate it’s simply a matter of placing a Bluetooth beacon within close proximity of those items it wishes shop kick to detect. For the most part the program appears to be well received although there were a smattering of less than informed articles declaring Macy’s is now tracking it’s customers. It should be noted that this is strictly an opt in program. A user must first willingly elect to install the application and there is always the option of turning off the phones Bluetooth radio or simply uninstalling.