Trax, a Singapore-based startup that makes image-recognition technology for retailers, acquired U.S. rewards app Shopkick to merge data from its in-store shelf tracking service with Shopkick's shopper data, per an announcement. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, but seller SK Telecom paid about $200 million for Shopkick in 2014, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Coty, eBay, GE, Georgia-Pacific, Kellogg's, Lego, TJ Maxx and Unilever are among the brands and retailers that work with Shopkick to gain insights on consumer behavior and to boost loyalty. Consumers use its app to earn rewards and gift cards for shopping activities such as browsing online offers, watching videos, walking into stores or scanning product bar codes on shelves. Shopkick users spend more than 1.5 hours a month with the app, per its announcement.
The acquisition of Shopkick follows Trax's purchase of computer vision startup LenzTech earlier this month. Trax is currently raising $100 million in a financing round that values the company at $1.1 billion, ahead of a possible IPO in the next couple of years. Trax also seeks to buy an unnamed European competitor, Bloomberg News reported.
By acquiring Shopkick, Trax adds to its stable of technologies that aim to help brands and retailers learn more about the online and offline shopping habits of consumers while gaining a company with existing relationships with major brands and retailers. Consumer packaged goods companies such as Coca-Cola and Nestle use Trax’s image-recognition technology to track their products on retail shelves and gain store-level insights. The company has 175 clients in 50 countries, per Bloomberg.
Shopkick can help Trax to offer a broader range of services to brands and retailers. Shopkick has a beacon network that's integrated with its app to engage shoppers when they walk through a store. The beacons typically welcome shoppers entering a store with mobile alerts and share location-specific deals, discounts, recommendations and rewards. Data collected by the beacons can help to analyze common in-store shopping patterns, like which departments consumers visit first, last and in the middle of their trip, per Shopkick’s blog.
Consumers have grown more reliant on mobile devices as they shop, and studies suggest they need incentives to share their personal information with retailers. Georgia-Pacific's Dixie brand partnered with Shopkick to incentivize the app's users to seek out the plates in stores and interact with the products and activate a branded video. The effort generated more than 16 million impressions and saw a 99% completion rate for the branded video, according to a case study shared with Mobile Marketer.
Forty-one percent of consumers plan to increase their phone or tablet shopping frequency in the next two years, per a survey by consulting firm BRP. Only 39% of respondents are comfortable with stores identifying them by their mobile phones when they enter a store, the survey found. Almost two-thirds (61%) of retailers plan to use Wi-Fi to identify customers by their mobile phones, per a separate study by BRP.