This is page 2 of:

Are Check-In Apps Losing Their Shine?

October 6th, 2010

I think the key to the survival of these tools is to switch the focus from the social game to the rewards. Shopkick has started with this approach; consumers who use its application focus on earning points by visiting participating retailers rather than just geo-locating their friends.

Think about it, people don’t carry around their supermarket rewards card because they love the supermarket brand. They do it because they want to save money on their grocery bill. (Note: I just laughed out loud at the idea of a tool that shares your supermarket success: “Todd just saved $2 on Huggies!”)

And the thing is, there are tons of opportunities for brands to take check-in to the next level:

  • Flashing the mayor’s picture on the digital menu board with a “Mayor’s Special” food item.
  • Letting the mayor cut the line.
  • Giving discounts to those who get their friends to check in.
  • Having a scavenger hunt across multiple brand outlets.
  • Offering second-place offers, goading the most recently ousted person to come back and try to regain the throne.
  • Offering the mayor a special “black” card (stored value) that is only provided to mayors.
  • And, of course, offering free food or drink.

Another big challenge is the ability for the major QSR brands to respond quickly enough (no pun intended). With many of these chains operating thousands of stores, designing, building and implementing a massive program like this may take months, if not years. I personally don’t believe these tools have much life left without gaining some major retailer support.

And if the industry as a whole doesn’t start to offer these types of perks consistently, I’m worried that the check-in apps will become the next acid-washed jeans. Once check-in goes out of style, it won’t matter how good the perks are. Although the Shopkick model of points is a good start at consistency, it just doesn’t seem to have the flair or pizzazz I think is needed to take things to the next level.

What do you think? I’m interested in your feedback. Do you think these check-in applications are a fad that will fade into obscurity like Roseanne Barr?

Term Of The Week: “TADD”—Twitter Attention Deficit Disorder. “I follow this celebrity on Twitter, but he has a major case of TADD, talking about his new movie one minute and his dog the next.”

Leave a comment, or E-mail me at You can also follow me on Twitter: @todd_michaud.


Comments are closed.


StorefrontBacktalk delivers the latest retail technology news & analysis. Join more than 60,000 retail IT leaders who subscribe to our free weekly email. Sign up today!

Most Recent Comments

Why Did Gonzales Hackers Like European Cards So Much Better?

I am still unclear about the core point here-- why higher value of European cards. Supply and demand, yes, makes sense. But the fact that the cards were chip and pin (EMV) should make them less valuable because that demonstrably reduces the ability to use them fraudulently. Did the author mean that the chip and pin cards could be used in a country where EMV is not implemented--the US--and this mis-match make it easier to us them since the issuing banks may not have as robust anti-fraud controls as non-EMV banks because they assumed EMV would do the fraud prevention for them Read more...
Two possible reasons that I can think of and have seen in the past - 1) Cards issued by European banks when used online cross border don't usually support AVS checks. So, when a European card is used with a billing address that's in the US, an ecom merchant wouldn't necessarily know that the shipping zip code doesn't match the billing code. 2) Also, in offline chip countries the card determines whether or not a transaction is approved, not the issuer. In my experience, European issuers haven't developed the same checks on authorization requests as US issuers. So, these cards might be more valuable because they are more likely to get approved. Read more...
A smart card slot in terminals doesn't mean there is a reader or that the reader is activated. Then, activated reader or not, the U.S. processors don't have apps certified or ready to load into those terminals to accept and process smart card transactions just yet. Don't get your card(t) before the terminal (horse). Read more...
The marketplace does speak. More fraud capacity translates to higher value for the stolen data. Because nearly 100% of all US transactions are authorized online in real time, we have less fraud regardless of whether the card is Magstripe only or chip and PIn. Hence, $10 prices for US cards vs $25 for the European counterparts. Read more...
@David True. The European cards have both an EMV chip AND a mag stripe. Europeans may generally use the chip for their transactions, but the insecure stripe remains vulnerable to skimming, whether it be from a false front on an ATM or a dishonest waiter with a handheld skimmer. If their stripe is skimmed, the track data can still be cloned and used fraudulently in the United States. If European banks only detect fraud from 9-5 GMT, that might explain why American criminals prefer them over American bank issued cards, who have fraud detection in place 24x7. Read more...

Our apologies. Due to legal and security copyright issues, we can't facilitate the printing of Premium Content. If you absolutely need a hard copy, please contact customer service.