A Consumer Perspective: Kirk Thompson

I’m Kirk Thompson, and I shop… by looking for myUpside.  

I don’t mean just looking for the big discount or the no-one-else-has-this-yet thrill. I mean the true upside of reclaiming shopping – and retail – as fun and practical, as social and individual, as day-to-day and surprising. Good for the wallet, good for the lifestyle, good for the soul. All upside.

Look, you know the flavors of shopping: There’s the “retail hunt” – for the sport of it, the thrill of the discount, the success of “bagging” that impossible-to-find item. There’s the “retail therapy” – the quick rush you get from a splurge, or just a feel-good/feel-great indulgence to lift the moment. All are variations boast an adrenaline theme – a flash of excitement or bargain. What happened to shopping for the pure satisfaction and even delight in finding the items that make up your daily life, that you enjoy most or share with others… and the reward coming with that?  

I like shopping that is more about how we live our daily life (and the occasional indulgence!) – a dash of experience, a dash of somebody who knows me (or the website or app “knows” me), a familiar salesperson, a great price tag… and an occasional surprise that comes with being a “regular.” That’s a great shopping experience. That’s upside!

Shopping has gotten tricky.  More gamification, less actual customer satisfaction. Rewards for all the transactional milestones I log. I like those – but those are everywhere. Literally. Too many retail membership clubs, club numbers, reward schemes, point redemptions to manage (or not). Easy to do if I shop some place frequently;  difficult to keep up with if it’s a place I only visit occasionally. Easy to want to play if rewards are often or achievable in a reasonable time;   difficult to stay interested in if rewards are unattainable, at sky-high point levels, or worse, redeemed in the lottery of a points bidding auction.  

Which is why when shopping breaks that mold – offers you the ease of doing what you always do, shopping where you like to shop for the things you like to buy, and finds a way to offer you a bit of reward, a bit of occasional surprise, a treat, an experience – more than just the free-with-purchase offers… well…that’s upside. myUpside.

myUpside is where a rewards program meets actual shopping. A surprise, a delight, an experience, a moment – something that matters to me, based on what I buy and where I buy.  With myUpside, the retailers that carry the brands I like are what matters – not just the individual products. Where I buy all those things is the change from all those usual ways of earning points, redeeming for freebies or discounts. I like where I shop – and the people I shop with – and it seems only natural that the reward comes from that – instead of just buying lots of one specific item!

And there’s the crux of myUpside: It’s the great idea that a reward can be a moment that makes shopping better, that makes daily life better, that capitalizes on what I buy, and matches my interests with a moment of something extra.

That’s why I shop with myUpside in mind: Extras always make a difference. Extras take great purchases and great retailers to the next level. Bottom line: When a shopping trip becomes an unforgettable experience, that’s pure upside.


Kirk Thompson, Former CMO / SVP Marketing & Head of Culinary - IHOP