Shopping points service Smapo joins forces with Rakuten



Back in Feburary, we wrote about Smapo, the Japanese equivalent of Shopkick. Today, the company announced that it has joined Rakuten group, giving it access to Rakuten’s 80 million+ members.

SmapoSmapo was initially launched back in September of 2011. By checking into physical stores, users receive points (one point is worth one yen), which can be exchanged to rewards such as gift certificates and dinner tickets. Smapo can be used at over 700 participating stores and over 90 brands. Stores are required to pay comission on a pay-per-performance basis.

Joining the Rakuten family will empower Smapo to expand its partnerships with stores.

As we wrote in a previous article, what differentiates Smapo from its US counterpart is that it uses a sort of inaudible audio signal to detect users walking in, via the required in-store hardware which is about the size of a matchbox. There are many tech companies trying to tackle the same O2O market, such as Showcase Gig. But the type of technology leveraged by Smapo is a notable advantage.

Yo Shibata, the CEO of Spotlight (the company behind Smapo), elaborates on the new partnership with Rakuten:

Smapo began under the mission of bringing surprises and discoveries to people’s everyday shopping experience. As the very first smarphone-based points service, we have accomplished to tremendous growth in the past two years. The spread of smartphones is truly changing the way we shop. By becoming a part of the Rakuten group, Spotlight, will continue to innovate on people’s shopping experiences.

Smapo is available for download on both iOS and Android.