Adventures in Shopkick! (A Review)

I love shopkick. Period.

What is shopkick? I’ll warn you: it seems too good to be true.

Basically, shopkick is an iPhone/Android app that pays you just to walk into stores. You read me right. That’s all there is to it.

Here’s the full scoop. Shopkick works on this principle: You see; you buy. So major retailers like Macy’s, Target, and Old Navy have teamed up with shopkick to reward you for visiting their stores (and exposing yourself to all their terribly tempting merchandise). You’re rewarded with “kicks,” window shopper’s currency you can convert to real dollars and cents whenever you’ve earned enough to reap the rewards. How many kicks to a dollar? It depends on where you spend them. But, for simplicity’s sake: about 250.

Let’s say you need to buy baby formula at Target. Since you’re already there, you decide you may as well use shopkick. Your experience should go something like this:

When you walk into the store, you open the app, and hover around the entrance way for a few seconds (trying not to look like a total weirdo). Shopkick will sense your exact location and send you sixty kicks, just for standing there. Then you’re free to walk around the store and shop for what you need. Along the way, shopkick will offer you the opportunity to scan certain items with your phone for an extra 10 or so kicks a piece. (Trust me, they’re not random items. Whenever I use shopkick in Target, I always end up hunting down Oreos and ice cream to scan. And it’s pathetically hard to collect my kicks and walk away, empty handed, from all that diabolically delicious, processed sugar.)

You’ll also get a heads up on store sales and promotions, some of which are exclusive to shopkick users. And, sometimes, you’ll be given an extra kick or two… just for… kicks!

Shopkick will show you all the shopkick-supported retailers around you and exactly how far away you are from each one:

I happen to live in a shopkick super center. Just yesterday, I shopkicked at Target, Macy’s, Old Navy, Aerie, American Eagle, Crate & Barrel, and Sports Authority – and I didn’t even have to travel more than 100 feet – cumulatively.  It can be pretty quick to rack up kicks. I banked about 1000 without even trying in three days. That’s almost enough kicks to redeem for a five dollar Starbucks gift card in the shopkick rewards store!

Which brings me to all the awesomeness for which you can redeem your kicks. It’s a lot. And it’s good. You can trade your kicks for gift cards – lots of gift cards to lots of different retailers (CVS, Sports Authority, Lowe’s, Best Buy, and Target – to name a few).  Save up 75,000 kicks (about 300 dollars worth) and you could redeem them for a Coach bag. You could score MAC cosmetics, mixers, and motorcycles. Earn 6,250,000 kicks, and you could take yourself on a Princess Cruise around the world. What am I saving my kicks for? These kicks:

Here’s the major thing to take home: shopkick is fun, interactive, addictive, and it can put you in a trance. You’ll walk into stores you’d never go into, just to get a buck’s worth of kicks. And then you’ll decide you absolutely need to buy fifty dollars worth of clothes from that store. It happened to me the other day in Old Navy. I walked in for fifty kicks, and walked out with a new pair of neon running shorts (Hey! They were on clearance for $5.99!)  My point is pretty serious though, and pretty simple. If you’re using shopkick to save instead of spend, think before you buy.

TIP: If you want to buy that lacy frou-frou bralette from Aerie, put it back and try to forget about it. If you dream about it all night and wake up still drooling, then go back and buy it. You’ll get more kicks that way. But, chances are, you’ll forget about it. And then, in the shopkick game of shopper vs. retailer, you’re really the one that wins!

SUPER TIP:  “Like” shopkick on Facebook if you want a heads up on ways to earn extra kicks! Today was 180 Walk-in Kicks Day at Target! Tomorrow, it’s 200 Walk-in Kicks Day at Crate & Barrel! Yay!

Are you using shopkick?  What have you redeemed your kicks for?  Email me at!