The Rebirth of Retail Shopkick is retooling the concept of customer rewards with an app that delivers promotions.
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The idea first came to Cyriac Roeding in 1994. The German-born business and engineering graduate student was studying Japanese management theory at Tokyo's Sophia University. "Everywhere I went, I saw people walking around with these clunky machines they called 'mobile phones,'" Roeding says. "I said, 'Wow, that's the next big thing.'"
The seed was planted, but the true form and scope of the idea remained elusive for more than a decade. In the meantime, Roeding pursued other successes. He founded a mobile marketing firm called 12snap. He served as executive vice president of CBS Mobile, where his interactive entertainment concepts were strong enough to win an Emmy Award nomination.
Still, the big kahuna--the eureka moment, the one that captured lightning in a bottle--refused to reveal itself.