It turns out you can be rewarded for watching television, going shopping or buying music from the iTunes store. In fact, you can collect points with the punch of a button on your iPhone or Android smartphone and redeem those points for gift cards, discounts, and gadgets like tablets. How's this possible? Apps, of course.
Creators behind apps like Viggle, ShopKick, CheckPoints, and Wikets all find that mobile devices are changing the ways people interact and shop, which is why these companies are jumping on the bandwagon. “You could make the case that mobile will have a greater impact on the way people shop than the Internet did over a decade ago,” says Dave Heinzinger, a CheckPoints spokesperson.
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So if you like rewards, here are five mobile apps that insist you treat yourself.
This app practically pays you for watching television. Users accumulate points by syncing their phone with a show on TV and checking in. Those points can be exchanged for rewards like gift cards to Starbucks, Best Buy and Chilli’s. The more points you accumulate, the bigger the prizes: think MacBook Air and Kindle Fire. Users can accumulate even more points by answering trivia while watching featured shows, like the recent MTV Movie Awards or The Bachelorette.
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With this easy-to-use app, all you have to do is simply walk into a participating store, check in via the app, and earn points. Points can also accumulate by scanning items and recent purchases. Since the points can be redeemed for rewards like gift cards, vouchers and discounts at your favorite stores, more shopping is encouraged. The app works by picking up a Shopkick signal -- an inaudible sound emitted in each partner retailer that verifies a user is in-store -- then rewards you for visiting in the form of "kicks." “[Because] our technology can actually verify presence in-store, retail partners are assured that the marketing dollars input to the Shopkick program are being spent to reward customers who are actually inside their store," says Cyriac Roeding, Shopkick’s CEO and Co-founder.
If you walk into a store and fire up CheckPoints, you'll see a list of featured items. You can scan products and earn points, which are redeemable for prizes like iTunes and Amazon gift cards, airline miles, and gadgets.
CheckPoints is now available in more than two million retail locations, and their partnerships are with the brands, not with retailers. “If you think about it, brands offer consumers discounts all the time on the receipt you get after checking out," says Dave Heinzinger, a CheckPoints spokesperson. "Why not give them these offers before they check out?"
By making a recommendation from your favorite book to a must-have restaurant and sharing it with friends via this app, Facebook or Twitter, you are rewarded with points that can be turned in for gift cards. Co-founder Andy Park says the goal was to reward friends for sharing and actually purchasing recommended products. “Members can purchase any recommended product without leaving the app from our retailers' mobile sites,” he says “This allows members to shop from the major retailers they normally shop from, all the while earning rewards and engaging with their friends and other members around the context of the products that interest them.”
Since we already have to pay to purchase music and movies on iTunes, why not be rewarded for it in the process? With this free app, a user will accumulate points, based on the song or movie purchased through the iTunes store. According to the app, users earn 170 iPoints for every $1 spent in iTunes. Points can be redeemed for other in-store apps or gift cards.
This story originally published on Mashable here.