Window shopping is something I do on a regular basis. After all, you aren’t spending money if you’re only looking.
But what if you could actually make money by window shopping?
Shopkick is an app that rewards you for visiting partner stores, scanning certain items, and of course, making purchases.
However, it is possible to be successful on Shopkick without spending a dime.
What is Shopkick?
Shopkick is a cashback and rewards app that rewards you for going into stores or scanning certain items. Whenever you check-in, you are rewarded in points, or as they’re known on the app, kicks. You can redeem your kicks for free gift cards, restaurant vouchers, movie tickets, and more.
Many people wonder how these companies make their money. After all, free money sounds too good to be true.
Big brands and retailers spend a lot of money on advertising, which could be a hit or a miss depending on their audience.
Some companies choose to reserve their marketing dollars to pay apps such as Shopkick to get consumers in the door. They would also like to know more about your shopping trends to improve their services.
From there, Shopkick’s job is to get you through the door. To do that, Shopkick incentivizes you with rewards that can be redeemed for gift cards. They do this by splitting the money they get from the retailer with you. Pretty simple right?
Shopkick’s partnerships with large retail stores are central to its success.
As Shopkick grows, more and more retailers are partnering with them to attract consumers. But don’t expect your local coffee shop to offer Shopkick rewards.
Generally, you can count on large national retailers to participate. Some big names on the app are Target, CVS, Kroger, Macy’s, Best Buy, and TJ Maxx.
They also are trying to engage large brands that maybe don’t have stand-alone stores, such as Neutrogena and Gatorade. These are the types of items that may earn you kicks if you scan them in stores.
Shopkick offers several ways to earn kicks on the app.
In addition to scanning barcodes and visiting partner stores, you can earn kicks by scanning receipts after you’ve made a purchase. You can earn even more kicks if you link a credit card and make a purchase with it.
Not into going to brick-and-mortar stores in the age of online retail? You can also earn kicks for online purchases. They also offer online videos that you can watch for a small amount of points.
Overall, there are plenty of ways to find success through Shopkicks.
Shopkick Earning Potential
Shopkick is a completely free app, so you don’t have to worry about spending anything at all to use it. With apps like this, the real question is not ‘how much am I paying’ but rather ‘what is my time and effort worth?’
Point systems are always subjective, but 250 kicks earn about $1 on a gift card. They have a minimum threshold of 1,250 points, or $5 on a gift card, to redeem your rewards.
This is among the lowest thresholds I’ve seen, so you definitely have to work for your points. Here are some tasks and their point value in the app:
- Walking into or by a participating store: 25 kicks
- Scanning an item in the store: 10+ kicks
- Scanning receipts after purchasing select items: 100+ kicks
- Watching videos in the app: 5 kicks
- Visiting online shops: 10 kicks
You can also maximize your earnings on the app by linking cards and referring users to Shopkick, but that will be discussed in greater detail below.
Maximize Your Earning With Shopkick
With apps like this, a lot of your progress can seem slow going. That’s why it’s best to find ways to maximize your earnings. There are certain things you can do that can earn you lots of kicks with little to no effort.
Link Your Credit Card
One of the best ways to earn kicks through the app is by linking your credit card to the app. This allows Shopkick to verify your purchases at their retail partners.
Kicks Earned: This will earn you about 200 kicks!
Purchase Items at Partner Stores
If you buy items at their partners’ stores, this will earn you about 100+ kicks per purchase. After all, this is the ultimate goal. Shopkick wouldn’t be getting partnerships if they didn’t reward you for actually spending money.
Kicks Earned: 100+ kicks per purchase at a partner store!
Lastly, Shopkick has a referral program that will reward you 250 kicks for every person that signs up using your code. This will help you reach that cash out minimum much more quickly.
Kicks Earned: 250 kicks per every person signing up with your code!
Shopkick Offer Tab
Shopkick also sends its users store incentives and discounts through the app. This means that you can get exclusive coupons just by being a Shopkick user. These can be found in their offer tab, so you can be aware of discounts being offered nearby.
Kicks Earned: Varies for each special offer.
Signing Up and Getting Started
Signing up for Shopkick is simple and quick.
The first step is to download the Shopkick app. Once on the app, you will enter some basic personal information, such as your name and email address.
After that, you set a goal for yourself by selecting a gift card that you would like to start earning kicks towards. That’s it! It couldn’t be easier.
Shopkick will not ask for your credit card information, as that is not required to become a Shopkick user. You have the option to link your card so that they can verify purchases and earn you more points, but it is never required.
They will also give you the opportunity when you’re in the process of signing up to refer friends to the app. This will earn you points too, but you don’t need to do it right away. You can always try the app out first and refer people later.
Apps that have access to your location and purchase history should have sufficient security measures in place to protect your information. So, what kind of security options does Shopkick have in play?
Even though Shopkick is a location-based app, it doesn’t necessarily require the use of a GPS locator.
Are you scratching your head? Instead of using global positioning systems to confirm your location, partnering businesses install a device that emits a high-frequency noise that can only be detected by your smartphone’s microphone.
This serves two purposes. One, it allows you to benefit from the app even if you are uncomfortable using location services. After all, they have raised a lot of privacy concerns recently.
Second, it is a more reliable way to confirm that you have actually visited a partnering business. GPS’s have an error radius of 50 – 1000 yards, which means you could check into local businesses without having visited at all.
Utilizing the high-frequency noise system is a way for them to confirm that you have visited. You will also receive more rewards by checking in this way because it is more reliable.
Imagine this: you finally earn enough points to cash out and get yourself a gift card. However, you realize after some time has passed that your gift card has been lost in the mail. Does all that hard work go down the drain? Of course not!
Customer support is important, especially when money is on the line. Luckily, Shopkick has a customer support team that can help you if you’re experiencing some issues.
Shopkick has an FAQ’s page that can gauge most questions that you may have. If you’re looking for a little more personalized assistance, you can always use their ticket-based email system to submit a service request.
Unfortunately, they do not have an email or phone number listed on the site, so there is no way to follow up on an existing service request without submitting a new request altogether. However, most customers report that their service team is prompt and helpful.
Pros and Cons
There is a lot to love about Shopkick, but there are also some reasons to pause. Here are some of the pros and cons of being a Shopkick member.
- Earn Without Spending Any Money: This reward deserves a gold star. If you love window shopping, you can turn that into a way to earn some extra pocket change without ever spending a dime.
- Large Variety of Rewards: Shopkick has many large retail and brand partnerships that you can take advantage of. Wherever you shop, you are likely to find an opportunity to use your Shopkick app to earn kicks.
- Easy and Fun to Use: Hate taking surveys? Use Shopkick instead! Shopkick can turn running boring errands into a scavenger hunt. This can make you feel less bored when you are doing things you already need to do, like go grocery shopping or pick up something from the drugstore.
- Low Earning Potential: You’ll never get rich with money-making apps like this, but it can take a lot of effort to earn even $5 with this app. Each kick is equivalent to half a cent, which means that you’ll likely only earn about 5 to 10 cents per store visit.
- Can Lead to Impulse Buying: The danger with apps like this is that you obviously earn way more points when you make a purchase. After all, the whole point of the app is for their partners to ultimately make money. If you are susceptible to impulse buying, this is an app to skip.
- Only Offer Gift Card Rewards: It’s natural to want flexibility, especially when it comes to your money. That’s what makes PayPal or check payouts so enticing. Unfortunately, Shopkick only offers rewards in gift cards.
Alternatives to Shopkick
There are plenty of apps like Shopkick that can help you earn rewards by running basic errands. Here are some extra apps to add to your money-making toolbox.
A lot of people use cash-back credit cards to earn back a percentage of their purchases. Dosh app is an app that effectively double dips into multiple cashback opportunities per purchase.
This means that you can maximize how much cash back you’re getting. When you earn enough back, you can transfer it either to a PayPal account or straight to your bank account. It’s that simple. While Dosh is purely a cash back app, there are cash back sites that you can earn from, too, if you prefer to sit at home and shop from your laptop.
Get Started: Download the Dosh App
We all need to eat right? You can turn shopping for groceries into an opportunity to earn cash back on your purchase and overall, save money while doing your grocery shopping. Ibotta is an app that helps you find coupons for items that you purchase on a regular basis from your local grocery store. It makes the process of coupon clipping feel new again.
Learn More: Read our Ibotta Review.
Get Started: Sign-up for Ibotta.
Is Shopkick for You?
Shopping gamification is successful for a reason. People feel proud of themselves when they earn points by doing simple tasks.
Shopkick is an easy way to passively earn small amounts of money by doing something as simple as checking in to a store or scanning an item while out on errands.
But don’t expect to win big by doing this. This is a tool that you can use to create pocket change for yourself but nothing more.
If you’re looking to offset your weekly Starbucks, this is certainly a way to do it.