ST. PAUL, Minn. - Target wants you to try a different type of scanning next time you visit a store.
The giant retailer announced a nationwide partnership with a free app called Shopkick earlier this month. The idea is to reward customers for what they're already doing: shopping.
Here's how it works. You earn 60 points, known as "kicks," just by walking in to a store and opening up the app. You can earn additional points by going down aisles and scanning various products using Shopkick.
"Kicks" can be collected and redeemed at the register for gift cards and iTunes downloads. Your "kicks" can even be donated to charity. Earning rewards isn't easy though. To get a $2 Target gift card it takes 500 kicks. For a $25 gift card it takes 6,250 kicks.
"Consumers love the idea that 'I can earn rewards anywhere and I can spend rewards anywhere,'" Doug Galen, chief revenue officer for Shopkick, said.
Experts like Professor Ravi Bapna of the Carlson School of Management said, Shopkick is just one small part of a broader movement to redefine retail.
"I think this is a way for the physical stores to get excitement into the shopping experience and to get more reasons for consumers to go back," he said.
Getting customers has been a big problem for stores. Many have been victim of the "showrooming" phenomenon where customers come in to check out merchandise only to buy it online instead. But things may be turning around. According to data from Shopkick it has already helped retailers bring in more than $110 million dollars in 2011. With Target now on Shopkick, they expect that number to rise.
The app is available for iPhone and Android users.