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Fashion Retailer New York & Company Plans To Lift Sales With Shopkick Rewards

Shopkick will install at least two shopBeacon devices at 170 of New York & Company's near 500 U.S. stores.

Women’s apparel and accessories retailer New York & Company is the latest major store chain to begin installing beacons at 170 of its 487 total outlets.

The national brand is working with deal-based beacon marketing platform Shopkick. About 23 million consumers have downloaded the company’s app, which allows users to earn “kicks” — as the Shopkick’s beacon-activated app rewards are called — that can be redeemed for discounts.

“Kicks” are awarded for simply walking in to a store or visiting a dressing room. Additional rewards are accrued by making purchases in-store.

Omnichannel Sales Lift

It’s that ability to encourage visitation and shopping activity that New York & Company CEO Greg Scott says will drive in-store sales while expanding its omnichannel strategy.

“We are constantly gathering feedback from our customers, and know that they are increasingly interacting with our brand via mobile and digital,” said Scott, in a statement. “By partnering with Shopkick, we will drive incremental sales by bringing both new customers into our stores, as well as inspiring our existing loyal customer base to visit our locations more often.”

The plan calls for Shopkick to install and activate at least two shopBeacon devices at the 170 “participating” New York & Company stores. One beacon will be stationed at the front door to reward customers for entering the store, and another at the dressing rooms, to reward customers for trying on clothing.

“New York & Company is helping to create the in-store experience of the future by utilizing digital marketing tools to make shopping more personal and rewarding,” said Shopkick CEO Bill Demas, the former head of ad tech platform Turn, who succeeded Shopkick founder Cyriac Roeding in that role last month. “Consumers want to be rewarded for their everyday shopping behaviors, while retailers want to increase consumer loyalty and foot traffic to their stores. Shopkick’s large-scale user base, proprietary location technology and personalized app experience positions us as the mobile shopping platform of choice for top brands, retailers and consumers.”

Shopkick’s Early Beacon Rise

Shopkick is regarded as an early adopter of beacons and location-based proximity marketing space. The Redwood City, CA-based company began using the Bluetooth-powered devices right as Apple previewed its iBeacon system in mid-2013.

Up until the availability of iBeacon, Shopkick’s method of connecting retailers’ marketing messages to customers’ smartphones while in a store was solely built on sending signals via ultrasound waves that can be picked up a device’s built-in-microphone.

Thanks to that early move toward beacons, it was able to attract business from brands such as Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Kraft, and Pepsi; the company also netted key deals with over two dozen retail partners, including Macy’s, Best Buy, American Eagle, TJ Maxx, and JCPenney.

But the company’s biggest endorsement came in the form of South Korea’s mobile geo-marketplace operator SK Planet’s decision to acquire Shopkick for $200 million in the fall of 2014.

Considering its pioneering position in proximity marketing for store chains, we asked Coco Jones, the company’s head of Strategic Solutions, how Shopkick sees the beacon landscape for retailers. Is it fair to say it’s mainstream or do you feel it’s still in the experimental stages?

“We believe the omnichannel promise rallies around delivering content in the right context to drive commerce, and beacons are just one tool for facilitating that,” Jones said. “We are in a time where every marketer knows they need to think about their strategy in this way, because it’s going to help them connect online and offline behaviors.

 

“For retailers, they see the impact of beacons in driving consumers to their stores, then augmenting the shopping experience with relevant messaging and offers once they’re in the store. When it comes to brands, they can now have a one-to-one dialogue with consumers inside stores, which they’ve never been able to do before.

“While Shopkick led the industry with one of the very first beacon deployments in partnership with Macy’s back in 2014, we now see the early test beds growing to full-chain deployments across many of our partners including American Eagle Outfitters, New York and Company and TJ Maxx,” Jones added. The trend for use of beacons in-stores is very positive, and what’s exciting is that we see a broader spectrum of BOTH retailers and brands adopting the technology and making it a part of their omnichannel marketing strategy.”

New York & Company’s Beacon Reward

The retail industry at large has been experiencing several tough months on sales revenue generally, though things have been looking up in the second half of the year. For the most part, discount brands like TJ Maxx — a Shopkick client — and Nordstrom Rack have been doing comparatively well.

While New York & Company isn’t a considered a discounter, it does count as “affordable fashion.”

The company did see a slight 3.3 percent sales decline in Q1, though digital/e-commerce efforts were a particular bright spot. At the time, Scott told analysts that the company would “continue to focus on our credit loyalty customers who drive increased sales to the brand. We also have an incremental Summer Kick-Off Event planned for mid-June.”

As it immerses itself in proximity and rewards via Shopkick’s beacon program, analysts will be watching closely to see how quickly the alliance pays off.

About The Author
David Kaplan David Kaplan @davidakaplan

A New York City-based journalist for over 20 years, David Kaplan is managing editor of GeoMarketing.com. A former editor and reporter at AdExchanger, paidContent, Adweek and MediaPost.