Mobile rewards app Shopkick expands into rewarding online shoppers, and eBay wants in on its loyal mobile audience.

Consumers who use the shopping rewards app Shopkick Inc. can now earn points by shopping at such e-commerce sites such as marketplace giant eBay Inc.

This month, loyalty app Shopkick has expanded its reach to e-commerce. Previously consumers could only earn points that can later be redeemed for gift cards in the app if they shopped at a physical store affiliated with Shopkick.

The mobile vendor says consumers can now earn reward points for shopping at online retailers, such as web-only Boxed Wholesale, No. 326 in the Internet Retailer 2017 Top 1000; Apple Inc. (No. 2); Groupon Goods (No. 27); Jet.com, which is owned by Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (No. 3); and online marketplaces Spring and eBay.

Shopkick has more than 20 million app downloads and has millions of active users, CEO Bill Demas says.
“For eBay this is an opportunity to get in front of a captive audience that wouldn’t necessarily be native to us—this is a new audience for us,” says Marie Langhout-Franklin, head of partner marketing at eBay.

In the first two weeks of being on Shopkick, eBay experienced positive results, although Langhout-Franklin declines to give specifics.

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“We are seeing definitely promising results, of new users and specifically users coming through an app,” she says. EBay is measuring the success by the incoming traffic’s frequency of purchases and how much they are buying, she says.

Here’s how it works: A consumer can browse product categories, products or tap on retail icons in the Shopkick app. A shopper can tap on an eBay product or tap on the eBay icon. If she taps on a product and has the eBay app installed, the eBay app will open to that product page. If she doesn’t have the eBay app installed, she will be redirected to that product page on eBay’s mobile site.

If the consumer buys a product from eBay, she will receive reward points in Shopkick, and Shopkick will earn a commission on the sale. The shopper must make the purchase within 24 hours for Shopkick to receive the commission.

EBay’s commission structure varies by product category, but generally an affiliate will receive 50%-70% of the revenue eBay earns on a purchase. For example, if a shopper bought a $200 rim for a car wheel, eBay’s revenue on that product is $18, and the affiliate would receive 70%, or $12.60, of that revenue. EBay also offers its affiliates an additional commission if the traffic it delivered to eBay converts and it’s a new customer or a shopper who has not purchased from eBay in the past year, she says

The Shopkick app and eBay app integration is powered by mobile technology vendor Button. Button receives a commission for delivering the traffic from Shopkick to eBay, and that fee structure is negotiated between the two vendors. Demas would not disclose details.

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Shopkick’s loyalty program is especially attractive to eBay because it is on mobile, Langhout-Franklin says. About 61% of eBay’s transactions are touched by mobile in some way, meaning a consumer browsed or bought the product on a mobile device. Plus, eBay has 370 million app downloads and eBay’s mobile sales volume reached $10.7 billion in Q2 2017, she says.

“Shopkick has a customer base that is very loyal and mobile-focused,” Langhout-Franklin says. “That’s a huge entry point that we are focused on in the coming year—increase exposure to mobile users.”

EBay does not have its own loyalty program but being a part of other loyalty programs is a large part of its sales model, Langhout-Franklin says. For example, eBay also has an affiliate relationship with mobile shopping rewards app Ibotta. In fact, it was because of this lucrative affiliate that eBay was encouraged to try Shopkick, Langhout-Franklin says.

“We’re seeing high-quality users from those types of platforms,” Langhout-Franklin says.

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