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Best Buy testing location-based mobile shopping application

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San Francisco Best Buy has partnered with shopkick, a Palo Alto, Calif., startup, to test a location-based system that allows consumers to receive retail rewards on their mobile phones when they walk into a store. The retailer is testing the system at a store in San Francisco, and is due to launch over the coming weeks in several additional markets.

The application uses a cell phone's GPS technology to detect when a consumer enters a store. Retail rewards become instantly available to consumers when they walk in. Consumers must first download the free “shopkick” mobile application for their smart phones. (The “shopkick” app for iPhone will be available in the coming weeks on the App Store, followed by apps for additional smart phones.)

When the “shopkick” app is open on the smart phone, it detects the “shopkick Signal” technology installed in the retail location as the consumer walks through the door, and the shopper instantly receives rewards, called “kickbucks.” Because the detection occurs on the consumer’s phone, the privacy of presence information is completely under the user’s control.

“Smart phones and mobile technology, increasingly used for research during the shopping process, are bridging digital and physical shopping experiences in promising ways for consumers - in the store, from check in to check out, right on their smart phones,” said Richard Rommel, senior VP new business customer solutions group, Best Buy. “The convergence of location technology and rewards to personalize an experience with Best Buy is at the heart of our vision of the connected world, and we will work with services like shopkick that can add value to our customers.”