Mobile App Review: Shopkick
This is the fourth in a series of blog posts evaluating the user experience of some of the top 10 shopping apps as rated by this June 2012 Nielsen study . The first post took a look at Out of Milk Shopping List app, the second at the SavingStar Grocery eCoupons app, and the third at the RedLaser shopping app.
The last shopping aid app evaluated in this series, Shopkick, turns shopping into a game by offering “kicks,” or points, to customers for common actions they take while shopping—such as walking into a store or visiting a fitting room—and then allowing them to exchange these points for rewards such as gift cards. It is available for iPhone and Android platforms.
The app has many cool features, such as showing you nearby stores and the number of kicks available for visiting them.
Some kicks are also available in the store, and deals for each store are shown so customers can take advantage of them during their trip.
One nice feature of the app is the ability to favorite retailers. Customers can favorite a store while they are browsing its page by tapping the star icon or manually add items in the Favorites section. Favorite retailers are then stored here to make it easier for users to see all the deals of interest to them.
Shopkick has many advantages for users:
- The sound effects, bright green graphics, spunky messaging, and animations create a game-like experience that enhances shopping, especially for those who shop with the same participating retailers often. There is also the element of surprise since retailers have many ways to be creative with kicks so you never know if one of your favorite stores will offer you some.
- During testing, we experienced a number of connectivity problems but the app was great about notifying us of these issues and then awarding kicks after reception improved. While technical problems are always frustrating and users are likely to blame the app creator even if they are not responsible, Shopkick is wise to handle this so smoothly without penalizing users (below). You can read more about this in Eric Feinberg’s Mobiletastic post: Performance Kills.
- The profile area further builds on the game-like nature of Shopkick by telling customers what level they have achieved and displaying badges earned for their activity so far. This is a common feature for social applications and games as it deepens customers’ relationships with the application by helping them build their identity. This is a great use of this design concept and makes the experience with the app more engaging (below).
In terms of improving the application:
- It would be great to have more tools and views for browsing rewards. Currently, you cannot sort rewards by the number of kicks required or alphabetically by source. In addition, there is no view of just those rewards for which you qualify.
- While customers can add retailers manually in the Faves section, there is no option to see all nearby retailers and then quickly favorite those. This would be especially useful for first-time users and those visiting a mall or shopping center to help them populate favorites fast from the get-go. There should also be an explicit way to remove Favorites from the Faves primary screen instead of forcing customers to click through to the underlying retailer page to do so.
- While it might be the nature of the beast, the app seemed to require a lot of interaction while moving through stores (even more so than the other shopping aid apps evaluated). This can inadvertently detract from shopping, especially if there are connectivity issues. It could also distract customers as they are walking or force them to pause in already crowded aisles, annoying other shoppers (especially during busy times like the upcoming holiday season.)
Overall, Shopkick is a great tool for getting more out of your regular visits to your favorite retailers. The game-like concept is a creative way to engage users and also benefits retailers as there are many ways to use the app to draw regular shoppers further into their shopping experience.
The trick here for participating retailers is to meet the expectations of THEIR customers by taking advantage of the app’s functions so they come back, purchase again, and recommend to others – all key success indicators. ForeSee customer experience analytics provides intelligent information so executives can take informative and make intelligent decisions that will move their companies forward.
Join us next time as Kathy Totz breaks down the user experience of mobile retail apps: Amazon and eBay.