Shopkick App Offers Users Rewards and Helps Them Find Deals

(Courtesy Shopkick, Inc.)

App Name: Shopkick Price: Free Available Platforms: iPhone, iPad, and Android

What does this app do?: Black Friday is less than a week away and already some of the biggest retailers are promoting sales beginning as early Thursday. Shoppers eager to get a jump start on holiday deals may find an app like Shopkick a useful tool to help them find and navigate all of those sales.

The app, founded by Cyriac Roeding, Jeff Selinger, and Aaron Emigh, allows users to find products in a variety of big name retailers, such as Macy's, Best Buy, and Crate and Barrel, and rewards users with bonuses, or "kicks" when shoppers enter a store, scan items, and make purchases.

And this past week, the app launched shopBeacon, a small gadget that rests on a store's wall and utilizes Apple's iBeacon Bluetooth Low Energy signaling technology to alert shoppers to open the app when they walk into a store. It launched in a beta trial in Macy's stores in Union Square, San Francisco, and Herald Square, New York,

To use the app, sign in with Facebook and browse items by searching through participating stores, such Old Navy or Sephora. Tap on "Area" to search stores and items nearby or select "All" to see a feed of trending items. Users can create a "book" of items they like by tapping the heart icon and saving them to a wish list. Once shoppers have accumulated enough kicks, they redeem those rewards for gift cards.

Is it easy to install?: Shopkick downloads quickly and its interface is simple to navigate. The app requires access to your location services and microphone in order to alert you to deals.

Should I try it?: Today, there are numerous apps designed to help consumers seamlessly locate items and find deals; Apps such as TheFind, for example, offer an impressive list of more than 500,000 retailers and allows users to scan and price match within a store, and coupon apps like RetailMeNot allow users to access and apply savings directly from their phones. Still, Shopkick's ability to alert you to deals and promotions within a store coupled with its colorful, fun-to-use interface make this app an enjoyable sidekick to your holiday deal-hunting.