Traditional "brick and mortar" storefronts are facing a difficult competitor these days; the consumer armed with a smartphone or tablet who buys products online rather than making the difficult trek from couch to physical store. AllThingsD blogger Lauren Goode wrote today about a way that store owners are fighting back using apps that offer "rewards, coupons and other incentives that can only be earned when you're physically in a store."
Goode talks about this new trend to reward shoppers for coming into stores by describing two apps. First, there's Shopkick (free), which provides points (called "kicks") towards store gift cards that are earned by walking into a store or scanning a specific item in the store. You can earn points at any Shopkick partner store, including Target, GameStop, Starbucks, Macy's and Sephora. Goode notes that she'll now spend free time walking into stores just to get the "kicks" provided by the app, but that the app is "dangerous" since she ends up purchasing items in those stores -- exactly the thing participating retailers want to hear.
Another similar app that is new to the App Store is Kapture, which gives users rewards by capturing a photo in a physical store. Once you've done so, you need to share the photo on your social networks. Goode says she's not thrilled about bothering her friends with photos of products, so she's probably not going to use Kapture that often. At this time, Kapture's only available in New York, severely limiting its usefulness.
Would you let an app know when you're in a store, scan items to gain rewards or spam your friends with product photos to earn coupons? Let us know in the comments.