Sling Shop, a new location-based shopping application, combines traditional loyalty rewards programs with—what else—a virtual slingshot.
The new app, set to debut in Austin, Texas; San Francisco; and Seattle, is the brainchild of iLoop, a mobile marketing firm that helps facilitate mobile campaigns for advertisers such as Coca-Cola, Warner Bros. and E!.
To use Sling Shop, shoppers who visit participating retailers can aim their smartphones at a conspicuously placed iPad. Then using their phone’s touchscreen, they can pull back and “sling” a virtual stone at a target appearing on the iPad. Those who hit the virtual target (which should be pretty much everybody) can earn rewards—discounts, free beverages, points, whatever that retailer decides.
According to iLoop’s CEO Matt Harris, the idea behind Sling Shop is to offer retailers an alternative to group-buying services like Groupon while offering consumers a fun way to kill time waiting in line.
“When we talk to retailers, they say that group-buying services are like a one-night stand,” said Harris. “They are tired of that.”
With Sling Shop, retailers will be able to utilize more traditional rewards programs without having to create stunt offers, said Harris. And they’ll also be able to track the habits of their most frequent customers, using an iPad supplied by iLoop.
So far, iLoop has just started bringing Sling Shop to market. But the hope is to talk to small businesses like the Zia Clothing Store in Seattle, which are unlikely to ever build their own apps (most consumers, too, wouldn’t want to download an app for every store). Eventually, iLoop plans to take Sling Shop to the McDonald’s and Starbucks of the world while also expanding to more markets, added Harris.