Earlier this month, Shopkick CEO Adam Sand spoke at the Mobile World Congress Americas 2018 conference. Over the course of the three day event, more than 400 speakers highlighted a wide range of mobile topics, from artificial intelligence to blockchain, and provided insights and solutions for today’s complex mobile environment.
At MWC, Adam sat down for a fireside chat with Branch co-founder and Head of Marketing, Mada Seghete, where they discussed how to become mobile champions in a rapidly changing space, as well as Shopkick’s approach to mobile success, failure, and everything in between. Here’s a summary of their conversation.
Shopkick: Who Are We?
Adam: Shopkick is a direct marketing platform with a mission to make mobile shopping fun for consumers. Shopkick began as a mobile platform aimed solely at influencing consumers to walk into physical retail locations. But over the past 9 years, consumer shopping habits have changed drastically, and Shopkick has kept pace.
Today, Shopkick’s app focuses on creating a seamless omnichannel shopping experience for consumers wherever they are, whether that be at home, on the go, or in store. Since Shopkick is a performance marketing platform, retailers and brands only pay for engagements that work — whether those are promotional videos, driving traffic to specific stores, purchasing products online, or buying in-store from a brick and mortar location.
If At First You Don’t Succeed…
Adam: Much of Shopkick’s success and user acquisition has come from testing and iterating. During the development of our omni-channel presence, it was important to consider the entire user experience, both inside and outside of the app.
After experimenting with a web-based platform, we quickly found that although it drove transactions, we were unable to influence users and bring joy to their shopping experiences. We ultimately found that in-app experiences were the best way to hook our users, and increase their engagement and usage of the app. We adjusted our initial goal of driving consumers into the store, and eventually shifted our focus to driving purchases.
We found that in order to be successful at meeting the ever-changing needs of our target audience we’d have to change the trajectory of the company. So we made several adjustments to the app, resulting in both success and failure.
Putting Products Into Users’ Hands Using 2D Image Recognition
Adam: One move that is driving a positive impact on Shopkick’s mobile growth is putting products directly into consumers hands, and delivering marketing messages in those pivotal shopping moments. By using 2D image recognition to highlight specific aspects of the product packaging and then serve up additional content about that product feature, we’ve seen an increase in purchase conversion, as well as a significant boost in engagement.
Leveraging Word of Mouth
Adam: In the mobile industry, a great deal of success can come from word-of-mouth. While consumer discovery often takes place within the app store, it is our loyal Shopkickers that have really grown our user base. Through the use of our invite program, as well as partnerships with affiliate networks, we’ve been able to successfully deliver our message to the right audience in the shopping moments that matter.
Of course, not every idea that we’ve had has been a win. In the mobile industry, failure is not only important, it is inevitable. From these failures we have learned, grown, and moved forward.
Differentiation In The Mobile Shopping Space
Adam: Today, there are several competitors within the industry trying to create unique mobile shopping experiences. While they are, of course, competitors in some ways, in more ways, they are not. Most mobile shopping apps are transactional, and focus on providing users with coupons and discounts. Shopkick’s goal isn’t solely to drive transactions or to push discounts.
Instead, we focus on influencing users and bringing moments of joy to their mobile shopping experiences, while also facilitating brand discovery and delivering the marketing message of a brand or retailer.
What’s Next For Shopkick?
Adam: Right now, we’re focused on evolving our innovative omnichannel video strategy. Serving our users videos when they’re walking into a store, or even when the product is in their hands, has proven to be an incredibly successful route for us. Like many other players in the industry, we can see augmented reality, branded games, and cryptocurrencies on the horizon.
Before concluding, Mada and Adam both agreed that the only way to become a mobile champion is to keep experimenting, evolving, and never fearing failure. The best way to find success is to keep trying new things. Should you fail, get right back up, learn from your mistakes, and try again.