Since being released last week to much fanfare, Pokémon GO has quickly become a sensation. The game app applies augmented reality to allow players to hunt around their neighborhood and beyond in pursuit of Pokémon to catch, train and go head-to-head against opposing teams. Blurring the line between online and offline, this trendy game presents a tremendous (if not unexpected) opportunity to local businesses.
The game alerts players by buzzing their smartphone whenever there’s a Pokémon in the vicinity, so they can try to catch them (all). In this model, players are essentially never NOT playing, as they go about their normal daily activities. Despite the PokéStops and Pokémon Gyms being predetermined, (with a combination of Google Maps and the game’s own algorithm) if your local business is one of the lucky ones to be in the vicinity of either type of location, you can take advantage to drive more foot traffic into your store or office.
If your location is a hotspot for Pokémon trainers, make sure you take advantage. As we get deeper into July, heat waves are making Poké-pursuing a challenge. Why not offer water or discounted beverages to trainers passing by your storefront? Some businesses have gotten creative, offering discounts to a specific “team”, or those in possession of their favorite Pokémon. You can even set up “charging stations” to help out those in need of replenishment.
In addition to store signage, you can even go one step further. “Lure Modules” are objects within the game, that boost a PokéSpot or Gym, to attract more trainers for a period of 30mins. They cost about 99 cents, so are worth experimenting with! Try customizing a sale, drink, dish or product to market to this engaged audience, and set up a Lure. This can be especially helpful when you have a lull.
Don’t be afraid to get creative; this will become increasingly apparent as more businesses jump on the bandwagon of this trend, so be sure to differentiate yours with a unique approach. It isn’t limited to retail, coffeeshops and restaurants, either! If you have a lot of empty chairs at your Nail Salon on a Tuesday afternoon, why not offer a special rate for Pokémon GO trainers, or offer exclusive Pokémon-inspired nail art!
It will be interesting to see how the game continues to develop, and what options they include in the future. There is certainly a great opportunity to add more advertising or “Lure-like” options for businesses. We’ll be keeping an eye on this, and will be sure to update you on the latest ways you can leverage this compelling trend!