Best Buy ( plans to bring a location-based retail experiment, using the “shopkick” mobile application rewards system, to 257 U.S. stores by Oct. 1. The retail chain will examine the ways in-store shoppers value and redeem offers and rewards through their smart phones.

Under the current plans, the “shopkick” system will be functional by Aug. 17 in 187 Best Buy stores in the San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Jose, New York City, Chicago markets, with an additional 70 stores in Dallas, Minneapolis-St. Paul and Miami markets launched by Oct. 1.

“We think consumers have more opportunities than ever to bridge their digital and physical shopping experiences, particularly through smart phones and mobile technology,” says Matthew Smith, vice president, marketing services, Best Buy. “We intend to explore ways we can use the power of location-based technology to personalize a Best Buy shopping experience, from check-in to check-out, with rewards and offers delivered right on a customer’s smart phone.”

A Best Buy customer can choose to download the free “shopkick” mobile application for their smart phone. (The “shopkick” app for iPhone is scheduled to be available Aug. 17 on the Apple App Store, followed by apps for additional Android-based smart phones.) When the “shopkick” app is open on the customer’s phone, it detects the “shopkick Signal” technology installed in the participating Best Buy store as the customer walks through the door. The customer then instantly receives rewards, called “kickbucks,” which can be accrued over time, then redeemed in the store or converted into Best Buy certificates through a user’s shopkick account.

Additionally, Best Buy has integrated shopkick directly into its point of sale system to streamline the redemption of special in-store offers and/or added bonuses for scanning barcodes of specific products, all of which will be sent to the user’s phone. Customers may walk up to the cashier, provide the mobile phone number connected to their shopkick account, and any applicable personalized discounts immediately appear on their receipt.

The “shopkick Signal” technology purportedly requires no consumer check in and detects that a user is truly present in the retail location. Because the detection occurs on the consumer’s phone, the privacy of presence information is completely under the user’s control, says Smith.