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Shopkick, Best Buy team up to use location-based app for loyalty program

I've been a member of Best Buy's rewards program for a little while now -- as long as I'm spending way too much of my hard-earned money at the big box retailer, I figure I might as well try to get some of it back. And I was pretty impressed with what they've done on their website with the program -- you can track your status and check out whatever deals are available to you whenever you sign in.

And now, Best Buy has partnered up with an iPhone app called Shopkick, set to go live later this week. Shopkick is an app designed to automatically "check-in" with partnered retailers, so you can earn rewards bucks or other loyalty currencies whenever you stop by a specific retail location. Instead of using GPS, the app uses the smartphone's speaker to pick up a certain audio signal being played in-store, so "checking-in" at a Best Buy with the signal running will apparently grant rewards or discounts to customers.

I don't know if the process actually appeals to me, even as a loyal Best Buy customer -- I haven't been interested in the whole "check-in" fad, and Shopkick sounds more like adware than anything else. But we've heard already that Apple themselves are interested in location-based networking, and this seems like exactly the kind of system that retailers and app creators alike are trying to build, enticing customers to visit and interact with brands and products in their stores. Shopkick goes live later this week and has already partnered with 25 malls in cities across the US, so we'll see how customers react to it.

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