Navigating the Consumer Journey: Awareness to Conversions

At a AdWeek retail event Shopkick’s Vice President of CPG and Retail Partnerships, Stephanie McHale talked with Mondelez’s Regional Vice President, Omni Shopper Activation and Strategic Partnership, Steve McGowan.  The event provided valuable insights into adapting strategies to meet the changing needs and preferences of shoppers. Here’s a recap of some key takeaways from the discussion:

  • Embracing Digital Engagement: With the Shopkick app at the forefront, attendees explored the integration of digital engagement with physical retail experiences. Shopkick’s Vice President highlighted the app’s role in engaging shoppers from discovery to purchase, emphasizing the importance of seamlessly blending digital and in-store experiences.
  • Prioritizing Shopper-Centric Strategies: Amidst constant consumer evolution, speakers emphasized the need to prioritize shopper-centric strategies. By putting the shopper at the center of decision-making processes, brands can better understand and address their needs, driving engagement and loyalty.
  • Balancing Digital and Physical Touchpoints: As digital influence on purchases continues to rise, speakers stressed the importance of balancing digital and physical touchpoints in the shopper journey. By combining both channels effectively, brands can maximize reach and engagement while ensuring a cohesive brand experience.
  • Leveraging Data for Optimization: The integration of data analytics into retail strategies emerged as a key theme. By leveraging data insights, brands can optimize their efforts, identify best-performing tactics, and drive incremental sales growth.
  • Addressing Friction in the Shopping Experience: Speakers highlighted the importance of reducing friction in the shopping experience, particularly in-store. With consumers increasingly seeking convenience and simplicity, brands must focus on streamlining processes and making shopping experiences hassle-free.
  • Ensuring Product Availability: Product availability emerged as a critical factor influencing the shopper experience. By maintaining consistent product availability on shelves, brands can enhance shopper satisfaction and prevent lost sales opportunities.
  • Personalization and Experiential Retail: Looking to the future, speakers envisioned a retail landscape driven by personalization and experiential offerings. By delivering personalized messaging and immersive experiences, brands can create memorable shopping journeys that resonate with consumers.
  • Measuring Incrementally and ROI: Finally, speakers emphasized the importance of measuring incrementally and return on investment (ROI) in retail activations. By accurately assessing the impact of marketing efforts, brands can refine their strategies and allocate resources effectively.

The retail activation event provided valuable insights into navigating the complex consumer journey. By embracing digital engagement, prioritizing shopper-centric strategies, leveraging data analytics, and focusing on friction reduction and product availability, brands can stay ahead in an ever-evolving retail landscape. As the industry continues to evolve, personalization and experiential offerings will play a crucial role in shaping the future of retail engagement.

Expectations for Sweets & Snacks Expo

Next week, Trax and Shopkick are attending the Sweets and Snacks Expo in Chicago – one of the tastiest sounding events of the year orchestrated by the National Confectioners Association. We are eagerly looking forward to the learning and networking opportunities that were so greatly missed during the COVID era.  

In addition to the free samples (and unneeded calories) we are anticipating, we are looking forward to the continued innovation and resilience of our industry as an economic engine for the economy. The industry has seen huge trends and innovations over the past couple of years with gamified experiences, physical to digital presence, augmented reality, and more, and there is no sign of slowing down. All the while, Shopkick has been keeping its eye on the prize for how we integrate meaningful shopper insights into these products and industry innovations. 

One area to call out that we’ve seen incredible shopper opportunities in is plant-based products – driven by health-based benefits. As part of the first-party research Shopkick’s platform enables, 78% of shoppers responded they were motivated to purchase plant-based alternatives due to the general health benefits, while 31% specifically called out that they feel better when they eat plant-based products. Additionally, 27% used these products specifically to lose weight. Based upon these insights, we expect to see this specific industry bringing new products to market that mirror these findings. 

Of course, in addition to the health and wellness side, the packaging also matters when it comes to how consumers shop for products. Our users reported that they are 59% more likely to purchase a brand with sustainable packaging than one without, and 38% would be willing to pay more for products with sustainable packaging. And in an even more incredible story, packaging drives shopper loyalty. Our data shows that 42% have switched brands over packaging sustainability. That’s why aligning to the consumers’ values can mean the difference between attracting and retaining a customer’s loyalty and being left in the dust.  

 No matter what new innovations and trends will be showcased at Sweets and Snacks Expo, we are excited about attending a well-organized and well-attended event next week. In addition to the expo, we will also be hosting a Happy Hour on 5/25 from 4:30 – 6:30 pm CT, at VU Rooftop. Please join us by RSVPing using the link below. We would love to meet up, learn about your challenges and objectives and discuss the industry and what the future holds. If you can’t make the event, look for a follow-up article on what we learn as a result of speaking with some of the smartest and most innovative people in the industry. Until then, we hope all your days are sweet! 

RSVP link:  

By: Paul Robinson 

Shopkick, a Trax company, is a leading shopping rewards app, bringing moments of joy to everyday shopping – both on- and off-line. For brands and retailers, Shopkick provides high consumer engagement along the entire path to purchase. The company’s unique pay-for-performance model has been proven to deliver high ROI while driving incremental traffic, product engagement, and sales. Shopkick is proud to work with Coca-Cola, Morinaga Nutritional Foods, Sambazon, Endangered Species, Godiva, and many other leading brands and retailers. We look forward to cultivating new relationships at Sweets & Snacks. 


Inaugural 10.10 Shopping Festival to Deliver the Holidays to American Consumers

Coresight Research partners with Shopkick’s Shopper Appreciation Weekend and Fashwire to launch new shopping holiday and get consumers acting early.

Coresight Research, the global research and advisory firm specializing in retail and technology, Shopkick, and Fashwire, an AI driven two-sided B2B and B2C global fashion marketplace, today announce the 10.10 Shopping Festival, a new shopping holiday to engage American consumers and revitalize retail.

As COVID-19 continues to upend all aspects of the retail environment, and the economic toll on consumers weighs on, this new annual festival is designed to increase revenue for merchants and reward shoppers with savings for crossing off their lists early, all while supporting the lifesaving mission of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital®: Finding cures. Saving children.®

On 10.10 (Oct. 10), and throughout the Shopper Appreciation Weekend (Oct. 9 – 11), shoppers will earn major rewards in the form of ‘kicks’ (Shopkick’s rewards currency) for visiting and purchasing from participating retailers and brands, both online and offline.

Fashwire is extending a special offer for its 300+ brand partners to be part of the festival.

“Shopping festivals, like Alibaba’s Singles’ Day in China, are a huge trend that have since expanded globally,” said Deborah Weinswig, founder and CEO of Coresight Research. “Our research shows that most consumers plan to holiday shop earlier than ever this year, providing the perfect opportunity to launch the 10.10 Shopping Festival to support retailers in their efforts to keep up with demand now and through the entire holiday season.”

In the spirit of giving, Shopkick will match 5 percent of all “kicks” (reward points) earned throughout the weekend and donate the monetary value to St. Jude, a leading research hospital to help in the organization’s efforts to find treatments for patients with childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Shoppers can redeem their kicks for free gift cards to their favorite retailers, like Target, Walmart, Amazon and many more, for even bigger savings in time for the holidays. Additionally, beginning October 1, 2020 until October 12, 2020, Fashwire will donate $0.50 for every download of the app (App Store and Google Play) to St. Jude.

“We’re thrilled to thank our loyal users by offering big kicks throughout Shopper Appreciation Weekend, and to partner with Coresight Research to make the 10.10 Shopping Festival a reality for shoppers across the country,” said Dave Fisch, general manager of Shopkick. “By rewarding consumers throughout the entire online and in-store shopping experience, we hope to make it that much easier to check off all of their holiday needs, while also offering a chance to give back to a worthy cause.”

“The core DNA of the Fashwire platform is to create connectivity between consumers and retailers. The 10.10 Shopping Festival speaks to just that,” said Kimberly Carney, Fashwire Founder and CEO. “As founders we wanted to create something revolutionary, innovative and accessible for both our brands and the consumer while being philanthropic simultaneously. We have taken all of the current market passion points and aligned them with a modern virtual experience that will allow consumers to shop covetable season must-haves early while giving back.”

Looking ahead, Coresight Research envisions the 10.10 Shopping Festival becoming a major U.S. shopping event. The festival will include broad participation from leading omnichannel and direct-to-consumer retailers that will provide consumers with discounts of 25 percent or more off popular products. To participate in the 10.10 Shopping Festival, download Shopkick on your iPhone or Android.

For more information on the event, visit

4 strategies to enhance the customer shopping experience in-store

“Strategy” refers to a high-level action plan designed to achieve one or more goals under conditions of uncertainty. There has been much uncertainty in brick-and-mortar retail these days, with customers shifting online and many longstanding retailers shuttering their doors for good in what the media has called a “retail apocalypse.” Yet, that doesn’t mean brands and retailers should throw up their hands in despair. Research suggests there is much value in shifting your focus to enhance the customer shopping experience in 2020.

What Is Customer Experience and Why Does It Matter in 2020?

Customer experience is your shoppers’ holistic perception of your brand. The in-store customer experience involves everything from helpful customer service representatives and short checkout wait times, to the type of music playing and aisle layout. 

Recent statistics reveal:

  • Companies earning $1 billion annually can expect an extra $700 million within three years of investing in customer experience.
  • Eighty-six percent of shoppers say they’re willing to “pay more” for a great customer experience—which translates to a price premium of 13% to 18%.
  • Personalized experiences have led 49% of buyers to make impulse purchases.

A Walker study estimates that customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator by the end of 2020. So, really, it’s not a question of if you should invest in customer experience, but rather how.

4 Strategies to Enhance Customer Shopping Experience in 2020

You may consider a number of strategies to provide shoppers with a better in-store experience:

1. Reinvent Your Stores With Rotating Themes

Changing a store’s theme can be a headline-garnering way to create retail buzz. While most large department stores have given up their market shares to Walmart and Target, a few dominant players have stayed in the business by borrowing from the “pop-up shop” method of reinvention. For instance, Macy’s rolled out rotating STORY boutiques—“a retail concept that takes the point of view of a magazine, changes like a gallery, and sells things like a store.” Every six to eight weeks, the store design and inventory changes based on rotating themes like “Home for the Holidays” or “Beauty.” Bloomingdale’s takes a similar approach with rotating carousel pop-ups themed around culturally significant trends.

If you don’t have the budget to go all-out, your store “transformations” could be as simple as adding a few Instagram-worthy spaces. “These days, if consumers can’t Instagram a store, it’s almost not even worth going,” according to AdWeek. For instance, Morning Lavender Boutique and Café in Orange County, California created a breathtaking wall of flowers that invites shoppers to stop and snap a photo. Similarly, apparel retailer Showpo features a “social media nook”—a chic café set-up with a table, chairs, cakes, and tea accessories.

2. Turn Shopping at Your Store Into an Interactive Experience 

People appreciate stores because they’re physical places of trial, discovery, and interaction. Stores like Trader Joe’s and Target employ the “wow factor” of free samples and dynamic displays to thrill their loyal customers in new ways. Marshall’s went so far as to hide curated “surprise boxes” around their stores for lucky shoppers to discover and claim. Shopkick, a mobile shopping rewards app, offers an even easier way to create an interactive experience for shoppers. Shopkick users are enticed to visit partnering stores and seek out products in exchange for reward points they can use towards gift cards of their choosing. The app’s scavenger hunt-like gamification provides shoppers with a fun way to discover new products. 

3. Train Employees to Offer Excellent Customer Service

ways to enhance customer shopping experienceOnline shopping offers convenience, but it can’t yet deliver good, old-fashioned, face-to-face customer service. You can use this to your advantage by training your employees to interact with individual shoppers based on past purchase history. Employing data-capturing systems and arming employees with tablets allows for more personalized recommendations and truly helpful customer service. Reps can search inventory in real-time and tap into customer profiles to go over and beyond the competition. Better than Google is the store representative who knows the pros and cons of various products; which brands sell best; what will best meet certain needs; and where to find the precise items on the shopper’s list.

One example of this advanced form of customer service can be found at the flagship Birchbox store in NYC, where shoppers create beauty profiles for a curated selection of products tailored to their user profiles. The in-store focus on “try, learn, buy” is evident in salesperson interactions that guide shoppers through the engaging “build your own box” section of the store. In addition, Birchbox customers can book a manicure or blowout in the salon—making the store more of a destination than a stop.

4. Create a Community Gathering Space

Physical locations gather like-minded people—and all the better if these people decide they like buying from you. Nordstrom is one of the most frequently-cited examples of a retailer that truly understands the importance of “store-as-community-center.” They have dedicated 3,000 square feet of retail space to serving wine, beer, and espresso; personal stylist appointments; and on-site manicures and tailoring.

Consider a few other examples: Consumers can attend story hour with their little ones at Barnes and Noble or take a DIY woodworking class at Home Depot. Brooklyn-based leisure retailer Solfire installed a smoothie bar and fitness oasis that holds classes. At Weis Markets, the retailer doesn’t just sell food—it promotes healthy living; grocery shoppers can book a free tour with a dietician, attend a cooking demo, learn more at educational seminars, and participate in fun health fairs full of interactive games, giveaways, and food samples.

Leverage Shopkick to Aid in Customer Shopping Experience Enhancement

Shopkick offers an innovative platform that transforms the shopping experience for mobile-using customers. Upon entering a partnering retailer and opening the Shopkick app, users are greeted with the current deals and opportunities to earn rewards points. Over the course of their in-store experience, they are prompted to seek and scan select items and ideally make desired purchases while working toward a free gift card. Purina, one of Shopkick’s partners, was able to integrate digital messaging with physical product engagement down the aisles to increase incremental sales 85% and obtain 4:1 return on investment.   

Shopkick offers an innovative platform that transforms the shopping experience for mobile-using customers.  

Want to enhance the customer shopping experience? Read more success stories or contact Shopkick to learn how you can win hearts and minds as one of our partners.

Image courtesy of ACA9595

3 ways to unlock your greatness

James Smilkstein, Brand Partnerships

Once upon a time, there were creators, and there was an audience. One group led and one group followed. Then the world changed…

I recently had the opportunity to hear from some of the world’s greatest minds. Iconic leaders and experts including Sir Richard Branson, Steve Forbes, Jack Welch, Robin Wright, Simon Sinek, Guy Kawasaki, Malcolm Gladwell and Gary Vaynerchuck took the stage at The Synergy Global Forum in New York City.

This powerful lineup of innovators discussed topics including leadership, purpose, strategy, efficiencies, growth, and marketing. Although each speaker set their own agenda, each speaker shared the same core values demonstrating gratitude, empathy and optimism.  These core competencies enabled them to thrive as leading motivators to an audience that was captivated by creativity and the thought of leaving a meaningful legacy.

I encourage readers to embrace the following takeaways as they embrace new challenges seeking a richer sense of fulfillment.

Dr. Daniel Goleman, a psychologist and NY Times bestselling author took the stage to talk about emotional intelligence. He defined this as “the capacity to recognize the impact our own feelings have on ourselves and to tune into the feelings of those around us, to manage our emotions and our actions, and to interact skillfully with the people around us.”

Through his studies he has understood that leaders with emotional intelligence are better equipped to inspire and mobilize others towards making a positive impact in the world. When distinguishing competencies amongst star performers, Dr. Goleman learned that jobs of all kinds comprised of 33% IQ and Technical Skills while 66% leaned in majority favor of emotional intelligence. Among jobs in leadership a slim 15% was factored in IQ and technical skills while a whopping 85% was weighted in emotional intelligence. His theme is simple – a group’s effectiveness is not measured by the sum of IQ’s but rather the level of harmony where they understand their strengths and weaknesses.


If you want to have an emotionally intelligent conversation with someone, eliminate any distractions. That includes your phone. Focus on the person in front of you. If you ask someone how their weekend was or how they feel, then listen actively. Feel what they feel. Try to understand their strengths/weaknesses. This builds up trust, and as the trust matures so do the open doors for people to take risks. It’s these risks that contribute to a greater level of harmony.

The most energetic of the bunch was Jack Welch. He lit up the stage! As the CEO of General Electric, he grew revenue from $27 billion to $130 billion from 1980 to 2001. Some of his notable quotes included,

  • “Find a better way, everyday.”
  • “Be positive, it turns people on.”
  • “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”
  • And he must have said this at least 6 times, “You want your workplace to be the fun, cool kid’s basement”

What he means is are you making your working environment fun? Is your company the place that everyone wants to be? Do you create a culture that allows people to be themselves so they can thrive? Well at Shopkick, we are for sure the fun cool kid’s basement. Take a look for yourself.

team holiday photo


SKNY party shot


In addition to fostering a positive environment, Welch credits candor for his sustained success. Acting with integrity is your brand. It’s your reputation and what people say about you behind your back is the true reflection of how you make people feel. Whether it’s within the walls of work or not, the ability to be open and honest with people creates trust. A trust that opened the door for empathic interactions, all of which allowed Welch to express his vision that grew the company’s revenue by over 380% during his tenure.


Trade on your personal brand, your legacy. Doing the right thing, is always the right thing. Celebrate the small victories. Laugh more at company parties as happiness is addicting. Encourage happy hours. Make your workplace and culture the fun, cool kid’s basement.

Last on stage was one of the world’s most distinguished and illustrious entrepreneurs – Sir Richard Branson. Some will say what’s even more impressive than the 400+ ventures he owns, are his awards and accolades including Time magazine’s “Top 100 most influential People in The World”.  His perspectives of gratitude, putting people first, and curiosity has and will continue to shape the world.

When asked for his checklist for leaders who create extraordinary companies he’s quoted as “If they are great motivators of people; if they’re always looking for the best in their staff; if they’re praising, not criticizing; and if they create products that people who work for them feel really proud of. … If the leaders are people who listen and don’t always want to hear their own voice; [if] they get ideas from their employees and write them down. “It sounds simple,” Branson said, “but make sure your people are really happy…Leadership is literally being a human being.”

Branson also publicized his 6-word motto that’s been a driver in his prosperous life. “Screw it. Let’s just do it” he said. This attitude comes from his belief that every minute of your life is meant to be enjoyed. Do not spend time and energy towards dreadful feelings of “Ohhh, I’ve got to do this today.”


Always look for the best in people. When your heart is into it –  screw it, just do it. Take one risk a day.

…So the world is changing. Now more than ever groups are collaborating, innovate thinking is leading to actionable execution and the boundary between creators and everyone else is blurring, and will soon disappear altogether. We are all one people and this is our one world. #OneTeamOneDream.

4 ways loyalty drives mobile shopping behavior

There’s nothing more valuable than a loyal user – but finding these consumers on mobile can be a huge challenge for many brands and retailers.  At Button’s Tap Conference in New York City, CEO Bill Demas spoke on a panel about how loyalty programs like Shopkick can be one of the best channels to acquire mobile customers that spend more, frequently.  Shared at the conference, here are 4 strategies to drive loyalty and results for brands and retailers.

Leverage location-based technology to drive timely physical conversions

Location intelligence and data are key for bridging the online-offline gap. When done right, location-based technology can be incredibly powerful for connecting brands and retailers with shoppers with demonstrated purchase intent. Yet most companies don’t have access to first-party offline location data and instead must rely on third-party bid stream data.  Less than 1% of the location data from ad exchanges is accurate enough to help marketers understand people’s movements in the real world. Even then, the most high-quality data doesn’t actually tie to store visits.

At Shopkick, we leverage a combination of geofencing/GPS, beacon/BLE and other technology to verify when a shopper enters the store with a high degree of accuracy.  We are also able to detect visits to the dressing room, or interactions with a product at shelf. This new level of precision can help brands avoid costly and opaque traditional marketing tactics, like endcap placements.

Change consumer behavior with incentives

Rewards and incentives play a huge role in the purchase journey and most consumers now expect some form of value-exchange for their purchases.  As a result, discounts, rebates, promotions and loyalty points are central to most brands’ and retailers’ marketing strategies. However, because they have become so ubiquitous, these tactics are less motivating and often end up hurting profit margins and brand equity just to drive the short-term sale.

The Shopkick ecosystem is entirely fueled by kicks, or points, that reward desired shopping behaviors.  However instead of just being rewarded for the purchase, users earn kicks for engagements throughout their journey, like browsing content and online offers, watching videos, inviting friends, walking into stores, engaging with products online and at the shelf, and making on- and offline purchases. We know this incentive model is capable of changing consumer behavior: take Lily, a Shopkick user in Houston who recently told us, “If I need to go grocery shopping and Walmart has more kicks, I’ll go there.” Offering kicks can drive the same behaviors as discounts or rebates, but cost much less for the brand or retailer.

Incorporate gamification tactics to drive re-engagement and retention

Incorporating gamification tactics into loyalty strategies can be a great way to both engage consumers to keep them active and retained, and re-engage lapsed buyers. Conventional gaming tactics like planning workflows, completing projects and levelling up makes earning rewards feel more like a game. When shoppers accomplish their goals, like reach their next reward threshold, there’s a great sense of satisfaction and accomplishment.

Another way to drive re-engagement and retention is reward them often. With Shopkick’s entry into mobile shopping, we’re now rewarding for mobile browsing and buying too, and with grocery, we’re able to keep in frequent touch, making even mundane errands a treat. Every engagement, every behavior, every purchase provides a chance to acknowledge their loyalty: beginning at the moment of consideration vs. just at the point of purchase – and continues with them along their journey.

For example we’ll message our users about upcoming milestones based on their specific behavior. If a user is saving kicks for a Starbucks gift card, we’ll alert her to reward-earning opportunities to help her achieve that Pumpkin Spice Latte. By delivering these moment of joy and fun, we’re able to drive increased brand equity, engagements and purchases.

Strategically partner with companies that elevate the user experience

In selecting partners, businesses must never lose sight of the consumer experience. At Shopkick, we have invested heavily in understanding our core customer, primarily moms who take on the heavy lifting of household shopping but also like to treat themselves. Our approach to strategic partners is always through the lens of how we can elevate the user experience. We want to match the best brands and retailers to our users and ensure our shoppers have a consistently valuable experience, from content on the platform to browsing offers to scanning products to making purchases to redeeming rewards.

As we continue to grow our product offerings, we focus on what our users want and pay close attention to their feedback. What we heard loud and clear is that our users want to be able to seamlessly shop across channels, and that primarily means shopping on mobile. We partnered with Button to be able to integrate with the mobile shopping companies that our users frequently buy, like eBay, Groupon, Boxed and Users are now rewarded for browsing and buying on mobile and after only 2 months, we’ve seen extraordinary results. We’re excited to expand to new verticals like travel, ticketing marketplaces, and alcohol delivery.

Meet Shopkick at the Path to Purchase Expo!

Planning to attend Path to Purchase Expo in Chicago? We’d love to meet you!

With 97% of CPG purchases still happening in-stores, it’s critical for marketers to have the right strategies and solutions in place to reach and engage shoppers where they are spending their time and their money.

Shopkick is the most engaging rewards app that bring moments of joy to everyday shopping by offering fun ways to earn rewards. For brands and retailers, Shopkick provides high consumer engagement along the entire path to purchase. Our unique pay for performance model has been proven to deliver high ROI, driving incremental foot traffic, visits to shelf, and sales.

Schedule a meeting with the Shopkick team to to learn more about how our valuable shoppers can help you achieve your shopper marketing goals, or simply visit us at our booth #737 to take the app for a spin and get a free gift card!

The event takes place September 26-28 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center and is the world’s largest gathering of shopper and retail marketing professionals.

We hope to see you there!


The New Millennial Workplace: Q&A With Brian Wong

The millennial generation has turned the concept of work on its head. Relationships are shifting from hierarchical boss/employee structure to more of a coaching focus with an emphasis on growth. Millennials expect work/life balance, lots of flexibility, and a collaborative culture.

Simultaneously, the explosion of big data that occurred as this group was entering the workforce has solidified a data-driven way of thinking and working across industries. Success is less about perception – how late you stay at the office or how many meetings you lead, for example. It’s based on meaningful, measurable results – and these are more available than ever thanks to the exponential growth of data.

Shopkick was fortunate to have Brian Wong, founder and CEO of Kiip and author of “The Cheat Code”, speak at our Shopkick Sessions event series.  As the youngest entrepreneur ever to receive VC funding, he shared thoughts on how millennials – and managers of millennials – can get ahead, and the role of big data in business today.

Watch the full video or read some of the highlights below!

Shopkick: If you’re a millennial right out of college and entering the job market, what are skills you can leverage when you are lacking relevant work experience?

Brian Wong: I think experience by years is much less relevant in this current era where everyone has unprecedented access to information. Millennials can basically learn anything anytime they want, and they should leverage that ability to gather information and start developing their skillsets. Personal social media use also qualifies as experience.  If you have 4 years of using Snapchat, that is digital experience that you can leverage to be proactive when interacting with older business executives who are trying to understand those platforms. There’s also intangible skills like passion and a youthful mindset, think like Richard Branson. It’s an asset to be consistently curious where you want to learn and question things, that’s sorely needed in the corporate world.

Shopkick: What type of company would you advise millennials to seek out initially: a startup or a more established corporation?

Brian Wong: The first company you work at is very critical.  It’s the place where you get a lot of data points and valuable experiences.  I learned a lot from working at a bigger more established startup, you especially learn a lot of what not to do, or what you don’t like doing.  But the entrepreneurial vibe of startups is exciting, and things can happen quickly.  Big companies are starting to wake up to this and breaking into the startup ecosystem. They’re learning how that engine works so they can feed off of that energy and innovation.

Shopkick: 44% of millennials expect to leave their current employers in the next two years. What’s your advice to retain top talent and keep your employees engaged? On the flipside, what would you advise a millennial to consider about before seeking a new opportunity?

Brian Wong: Engagement is a key piece to retention of younger staff. One of the biggest things to do as a CEO is to make sure your team is happy. In Silicon Valley there’s a running joke that you aren’t hiring anyone anymore, you’re just renting them, because employees jump around so much. One of the bigger tactics for retention I think centers around horizontality: people within our generation have this fear of getting stuck within a role. You must make it clear that it’s ok to swap positions, from sales to account management to design.

On the flipside, before leaving a company, millennials should make sure they’ve accomplished what they set out to do.  If they’re growing and having fun, they should stay.  If not, then they should get out of there.

Shopkick: Shifting gears over to Big Data. Millennials want personalized experiences and with the help of Big Data, marketers and employers are now able to deliver. How are you enabling the use of Big Data at Kiip to leverage the relationships with both marketers and consumers?

Brian Wong: At Kiip, we get a lot of data, but the quantity doesn’t matter, it’s about what we do with it. For us and improving the product, the focus is on personalizing rewards. For every company, a good data strategy revolves around that most important objective. Personalizing rewards is our primary directive, with all other initiatives laddering up to that. We don’t stray from it, because the moment you stray, it can get very distracting because there’s so many other routes we could go.  If your data strategy doesn’t have a purpose, you’re losing time and efficiency trying to experiment with too many different things.

Shopkick: So with companies now relying on data to make most decisions, what happens to your gut instinct? How do you intertwine your data and your gut to make the best decisions?

Brian Wong: It’s a mixture of art and science. For data-informed decisions, you ultimately have to realize how you make decisions as a person.  For me, I make a lot of decisions based on what feels right, but if that data doesn’t confirm it, then I also have learned to give it a chance.  I’m not so hard-headed to the point that where just because my gut says something means we can’t follow the data. Successful leaders are those that can balance between that art and science, by tapping into the left and right brain.  That’s where we get the Steve Jobs and Elon Musks of the world.


If you’d like to be notified about future Shopkick Sessions, sign up for our newsletter. To watch other events from the series, check out the YouTube playlist.