Unless you live on the moon, you’ve probably heard, seen, or read about the new Pokemon Go app. It’s an augmented reality version of the globally popular Pokemon games in which players explore the world, catching and training monsters and battling other trainers. For the last week and a half, kids, teens, and adults have scoured their cities hunting monsters, battling at gyms, and seeking out Pokestops to re-up on useful in-game items. There is a running joke about the irony of a video game finally encouraging people to go outside and exercise, but as a business owner, this is a very serious opportunity. People of all ages are out, walking around, exploring areas in their city they normally wouldn’t go to, which means you have an opportunity to present your business to new potential customers.
Is your business already attracting players?
The Pokestops and Gyms are in-game locations (attached to real-world locations) that players need to go to in order to progress. If you’ve noticed a large amount of people staring at their phones in your businesses lobby or parking lot, chances are there is one of these locations near your business. You will want to confirm this, as you can easily use it to your advantage. Whether you want to play the game or not, I would suggest downloading it onto your smartphone so you can start to use the in-game features to bring in the trainers.
Once you’ve downloaded the game and gone through a brief tutorial, you will see your avatar surrounded by an augmented map of your area. If you see one of the following icons on or near your business, you are in luck! Players actively seek these out and you can start to share through social media that your business is a Pokemon Go area of interest!
If your business is not a Pokestop or Gym, you can request that it become one via the Pokemon Go Support Page.
What if I’m not a Pokestop or Gym?
If your building is barren of any Pokestuff, not to worry. The game features in-game items called “lures” which attract Pokemon to them so players can catch more in the area where the lure was dropped. In the name of marketing, get yourself some Pokemon lures, drop them at your business and announce that your business is swarming with Pokemon! I’ve seen this tactic used on Facebook for event promoters and when I went to check it out there were easily 250 people talking to each other and capturing Pokemon together. Once they’re at your business you can start talking to them about your products and services and turn these trainers into customers.
Pokemon Go Promotions
The game has three teams that players can choose to be a part of, and these teams have turned out to be very competitive. Use this to your advantage. Humans are prideful creatures and this game has already inspired online trash-talk, dedicated Facebook groups, and real-life merchandise (not sure how legal that is though). Some businesses have stated their loyalty with discounts for trainers on one team and higher prices for competing teams.
Some ideas for promotions include:
Discounts or giveaways for the team reigning over the nearest gym.
Let’s say team valor takes over the gym that is across the street from your business, have Team Valor members show their phone at checkout while they rule the gym and they get a discount or a free item with their purchase.
You can get your logo printed on just about anything these days. Order some custom pins for your business and give out “Gym Badges” to customers playing the game. The player gets to be even further immersed into the experience of the game and you get new customers and an advertisement.
Have customers post a screenshot of the Pokemon they caught at your store and share it to social media with a tag and location check-in, and give them a discount. I’ve seen people flock by the hundreds to go where the Pokemon are, so make sure people are telling their friends about what they found near your business!
Whether you’re a fan of the game or not, there is a big opportunity to capitalize on all of the players running around your area. Mobile games tend to not stick around for very long, so get on the Pokemon trend while it’s still hot!