For shoppers looking to increase their income or minimize downtime on slow shopping days, there are several phone apps available to help you do just that. I have tried four or five apps, but Gigwalk and Shopkick seem to be the ones that fit with my schedule and shopping style best. Both apps are available for iPhone and Android phones and allow users to start earning money or rewards immediately. My experience has been with the Android version so I’m not sure if the negative aspects apply to iPhone.
Gigwalk is the first money-making application that I tried. I was immediately able to find jobs in my area paying anywhere from $3 to $12 dollars. The $3 assignment was merely taking pictures of two displays in a national pharmacy chain. The $12 assignment was an actual merchandising assignment that required receiving a shipment of coupons to attach to some automotive products at a major retailer. As I travel to several cities in my area I was able to pick up a handful of jobs, but it would not have been profitable to do that much driving just to complete these assignments.
Most of the jobs I have seen have paid from $5-8. Most of them are relatively simple, since all requirements and instructions are listed on the app and you just go down a list of questions and take pictures as appropriate. When taking pictures, you must have your GPS enabled or it will give you an error message. You also must have a strong internet connection to be able to complete the assignment. In rural areas, this can be a problem since you do not have the option of loading the picture later from your picture gallery. Basically, if there is no phone or GPS signal at the exact location of the display in the store, the you will not be able to complete the assignment. I have had this problem in a few specific stores but, as I mentioned, these were in some very rural areas.
When applying for assignments, the shopper must indicate when the assignment will be completed. The options range from 3 hours to 3 days, depending on when the assignment is due when requested. If you request the 3 hour time slot, then you will usually receive immediate notification that you have been assigned. If you select another option, it could take up to an hour to know if you can complete the assignment.
Gigwalk pays exclusively through Paypal, so you must have a Paypal account before registering with them. When the app first became available, payment was often made within a few days, however, it seems all good things soon come to an end. Now, payment can take as long as ten days. For mystery shoppers, that is still way better than waiting 30 days or more.
Gigwalk seems to be one of those apps that people really love or really hate. Google Play reviews have rated the app at 3.1 out of five stars. Most of the complaints seem to be about there not being any work available in some areas and the fact that about every other time the app updates, it stops working correctly. Hopefully work will increase as some of these glitches get worked out by the developers.
Shopkick is the other application that I have used intermittently for the past year. It is much different than Gigwalk in that it offers redeemable points (kicks) instead of money. It is also available for iPhone and Android. As with Gigwalk, it does seem to have some glitches, although the rating on Google Play is a respectable 4.2 out of 5 stars.
There are 3 ways shoppers can get points with this app. Stores such as Best Buy, JC Penney, Walmart and others usually offer anywhere from 50 to 300 “kicks,” or points just for walking into the store. The Shopkick app must be open on your phone to receive these kicks. Also, “scan kicks” can be earned by scanning the barcode on listed products. The exact product must be scanned for the kicks to be validated. For example, if it lists Purina Adult Formula cat food, the scan will not work on Purina Indoor Formula. It is sometimes hard to determine from the small picture of the product exactly what it is.
Kicks can also be earned by purchasing listed products and scanning the receipt. I have not used this part of the app, but I’m sure it is not much different than scanning the barcode. As with Gigwalk, a very good internet connection is needed to be able to use the app in stores. Also, it seems like every time I started using it regularly, the app is updated and then starts having problems. This past weekend, there were literally thousands of kicks available at a local mall. I received several walk-in kicks, but had trouble with the scan kicks. It took about ten minutes to scan two barcodes even after logging on to the Wi-Fi in Best Buy. I kept getting an error message saying, “We seem to have hit some potholes. Please try again later.”
I eventually got the Best Buy kicks, but the rest of the day I could not even view the available products for other stores. That same pothole message again. I was eventually able to attempt to scan some products at Petsmart, but the scans would not validate. There was an update to the app the next day, but apparently the version I was using had more potholes than a Colorado marijuana farm. I have not tried to use the app since the latest update.
Even with the glitches, dedicated shoppers can really earn some nice rewards from Shopkick. My favorite is the Redbox DVD rental codes that can be obtained for only 425 kicks. Also available are $2 gift cards for 500 kicks or $5 gift cards for 1250 kicks. These gift cards are available for stores such as Target, American Eagle Outfitters, Old navy, Starbucks and more. For 107,500 kicks shoppers can get a 32 inch flat screen Samsung TV. At the high end of the spectrum, for 6,250,000 kicks, you can take an “Around the World Cruise” compliments of Princess Cruise Lines.
Those may sound like some big goals, but points ad up quickly when the app is working correctly. Shoppers who spend a lot of time in stores, even the large ticket items could be attainable. Bonus kicks are also earned by referring your friends.
You may not get rich by using these apps, but they are worth the minimal amount of effort required for the most part. I will continue using them and will send everyone a bon voyage article if I ever earn that cruise.