Shopping apps can be a great way for people who love shopping to earn rewards for activities they’re already doing.
Shopkick is one of the most popular apps in the space, and for good reason — the app is easy to use, free to sign up for, and can let users earn gift cards to their favorite stores.
In this article, we’ll look at Shopkick, and show you how to get started with the app.
We’ll cover the pros and cons of Shopkick and see if it works as a side hustle.
Finally, we’ll answer some frequently asked questions.
What is Shopkick?
Shopkick is an app that offers rewards for shopping activities that users can perform offline or online.
These rewards are called “kicks,” and they can be earned by making in-app purchases, in-store purchases, scanning items in a store, or even simply by walking into a store.
These “kicks” can then be traded in for gift cards for places like Amazon, Starbucks, Walmart, Best Buy, and more.
Retailers partner with Shopkick to get feedback on new products and offer reward incentives for shoppers to check out their offerings.
Shopkick was founded in Silicon Valley, but in 2014 the company was acquired by SK Telecom, a large Korean telecommunications company.
As of 2017, the company boasted that it had driven over $2.5 billion in total sales from retail partners and over 200 million store visits from people using the app.
How Shopkick Works
Shopkick offers rewards for users who make online purchases or in-store purchases.
You can also get rewards simply by visiting a store and scanning a designated barcode.
Purchase it or not, you’ll get credit for finding the item and scanning the code.
And yes, you can earn “kicks” simply by walking into a store.
Shopkick uses your phone’s GPS service to track walk-ins.
In some stores, the company also has installed their shopBeacon — a bluetooth signal that your phone will pick up on and register that you visited.
Shopkick also has a device in some stores that puts out a high frequency signal that you can’t hear but your phone can.
When you walk into the store, the beacon emits the signal and your Shopkick app reads it to confirm you visited the store.
Once you earn “kicks,” Shopkick works like most other rewards apps.
You accrue points and then can trade those points in for gift cards.
Getting Started Using the Shopkick App
The Shopkick app is available for iPhones and Android devices.
You can download it for free from the iTunes App Store or Google Play.
Once you download the app, it tells you to pick the first reward you want to go for.
Say you pick a Sephora gift card — it will tell you how many kicks you need to get that reward and then track your progress.
If you want to change your reward preferences, you can do that in the app at any time.
Gift card rewards require anywhere between 500 and 75,000 kicks, though there are special prizes for truly high earners.
After you’ve picked your reward goal, it’s time to create an account.
You can create one quickly via Google or Facebook or manually create one by providing an email address.
They’ll send a verification link to your email, which you click that and then you’re all set.
Earning and Redeeming Kicks
You’ve created an account, and it’s time to get shopping. In the app, they’ll give you a bunch of options to earn points.
If you enable your location tracking, they can also tell you about in-store opportunities.
Every task has an assigned number of kicks to it, and if you check the app frequently, you’ll see that there are opportunities to gather bonus kicks throughout the day.
Some activities, like signing up for an email newsletter, will earn just a couple kicks.
Other tasks, like purchasing an item from Macy’s or scanning multiple items at a local Walmart, can offer quite a few kicks.
Once you’ve acquired enough kicks to hit your goal, it’s time to trade in.
Don’t worry: You’re always free to change your mind.
If you earned the 500 kicks needed to get a gift card from TJ Maxx but now want to switch that over to a Target gift card, that’s easy — just make the selection in your preferences.
Once you trade in for a gift card, it’s delivered to your email in digital form.
Print it out and bring it to a store or redeem it and order online.
Pros and Cons of the Shopkick App
There are some great things about the Shopkick app but some drawbacks as well.
We read a bunch of online reviews and played around with the app ourselves, and this is how we see the app.
The app is free to use, and the registration process is quick.
They don’t ask for much personal information besides your name, email, and some basic facts about you, and it doesn’t need to link to your bank account.
Shopkick offers free gift card rewards, and you can earn kicks easily.
Plus, their gift card selection is huge, available for everything from Old Navy to local grocery stores.
You can save money by using the app to supplement the shopping you’re already doing, and the interface is simple and user-friendly.
The biggest problem with Shopkick is that it takes a long time to amass enough points to redeem them for anything you’d actually want.
If you break it down hourly, you’d almost certainly make more at a minimum wage job than you would taking on the tasks to get even a small gift card.
And remember, Shopkick doesn’t pay money, just gift cards.
Another concern for some users is that Shopkick requires a lot of permissions for your cell phone when you’re using the app.
It accesses your contacts, location, camera, microphone, Bluetooth, and more.
You can turn some of those off in your preferences, but, for example, you’ll need to enable Bluetooth and GPS to get credit for visiting stores.
Can I Make Shopkick Work as a Side Hustle?
Shopkick is a popular app because it’s free to download and offers gift cards to a wide variety of stores, some where you probably like to shop already.
So can it work as a part-time job?
Though this app does reward you for online shopping, it’s hard to earn enough kicks to get gift cards consistently, and the kick rewards are often so low that it’s tough to justify the time spent getting them.
If you are a fan of online shopping or don’t mind going out and scanning products while you’re shopping, Shopkick can work nicely as a rewards app.
They also offer coupons and discounts to partner retailers that can help you save money while shopping.
But as a way to make money consistently?
There are much better side jobs out there.
Frequently Asked Questions
We’ve covered how to use Shopkick, plus some pros and cons of the app.
Let’s get to some frequently asked questions.
1. Is Shopkick a scam?
Shopkick will never ask for your credit card information, and they aren’t looking to defraud you.
Some Shopkick reviews will accuse them of being a scam, but that’s mostly because people come into the app having unrealistic expectations.
Kicks take a while to accumulate, and gift card rewards are often for not much money.
Shopkick also asks users to enable your phone’s location services, Bluetooth, microphone, camera, and more, which some people find invasive.
But plenty of people love Shopkick, and while it may not earn you as much as you want, it’s not going to scam you.
2. How does Shopkick compare to competitors?
Shopkick’s rewards seem consistent with what other shopping apps offer.
Some distinguish themselves by offering cash payouts through PayPal, but most companies, like Shopkick, just offer gift cards.
You can read about other survey and shopping apps to learn more.
3. What if there’s a problem with my rewards?
App users in the United States can reach out to Shopkick’s customer service through their online portal.
If you own a business and want to learn more about how Shopkick can help you attract customers and grow revenue, reach out to them directly through their website.
Earn Points With Shopkick
Shopkicking can be a fun way to get rewards for shopping you’re already doing.
While it may not be the most efficient way to earn money as a side hustle, the app is free to download, and if you love shopping, it can be a great way to earn gift cards to your favorite stores.
If that sounds fun, go on and get after it.