Rarely does come along a game, or anything for that matter, that so completely takes over an entire population’s imagination. Last week saw the debut of Pokémon Go, an augmented reality game by Nintendo and it instantly became a wild craze in all the three markets it has been released in. Since July 6, the app has garnered sales worth over $14 million.

Here in the U.S., the Pokémon obsession has evolved into its own lifestyle.

This brilliant concept uses people’s phone cameras and GPS to turn their surroundings into augmented reality and requires them to chase virtual pocket monsters through the real world. Parks, streets, pubs, even the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum– everything has been roped into the game. The hunt is on and unrelenting.

It’s clear that people cannot have enough of it. So can business be far behind? No, and they are not. Selling coffee, pizza, or flowers, local businesses are cashing in on this craze and keeping Pokémon trainers well-fed and loaded up on adventure. Want your business involved? Here is how others are doing it!

Using their shops as Pokestops or Gyms

Pokestops are places where players of the game come together to collect rewards, and Pokémon Gyms are where they team up to defend their territory.

These stops are mostly local businesses and landmarks.

The businesses designated by the game as Pokestops and Gyms are advertising that outside their doors to grab the attention of busy players in search of free accessories. Not surprisingly, these are attracting large numbers of game players and that is seeing a massive spurt in their sales.

These Pokestops and Gyms are predetermined by the app makers. But if you are wondering if you, too, could qualify for one and how to do it, Inc. has some good suggestions for it.

Entertain the gamers with sweet deals

So being a Pokestop is a good thing, right? You see significantly increased footfall. But even if you’re not a Pokestop, businesses are stepping up their game to add to the fun of passing Pokémon trainers.

Literally hundreds or even thousands of gamers are out there, walking through downtown areas and malls. Getting people in big numbers at your stores doesn’t happen that often and businesses are making the most of it.

  • Offer a 20% discount at your business to all players on Team Red (or Blue or Yellow). Let your company be part of the fun!
  • Hand out free coffee or drinks to all hard-working Pokémon trainers. They’ll remember you when they get hungry or thirsty later!
  • Hang a Pokémon flyer on your door. It’s certain to catch attention!
  • Promote Pokémon-related content on your social media or website to take advantage of that extra search traffic and popularity!
  • Simply use Pokémon in your branding. Look at what this clothing store
  • Several parks, baseball fields, and zoos have opened up their doors during unique times to allow gamers special access.
  • Post pictures of your customers playing Pokémon Go in your business on social media. Better yet – get a picture of a Pokémon in your store or with your clients!

How you do it well get you noticed and have people talking about it even when the Pokémon craze dies down. Players will remember that your business was part of the whole experience.

So yours isn’t a Pokestop? No worries. There’s bound to be plenty around you, and you should advertise on your website and social media so that more people take notice of you.

Take the example of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas. While the museum is not a Pokestop itself, it is surrounded by many. They took advantage of this and loaded pictures on their website, alerting Pokémon enthusiasts to this fact. They also managed to bring the art pieces on display into the conversation through these photographs, which is a great way to lure people to the museum.

Devise a Pokémon-inspired something

Create a drink or a sandwich or anything you can think of that is relevant to your business and not costly for you to give away to large numbers of people. It should also be easy to produce and be of use to the players. This could serve the business any time of the day since the game is in progress 24*7. It could also help businesses to remain open for longer hours than usual.

Snack bars can devise Pokémon-themed burgers or milkshakes. Tattoo parlors can offer semi-permanent Pokémon inking. A restaurant in California is using the character of Pikachu to promote pastries. There are many ways to get creative with this.

Offer Pokémon promotions and free phone-charging stations

What is a little bit of investing when you have so many people–potential customers–at your doorstep?

Give away free material depending on what you sell. Some cafes and restaurants are providing multiple charging points to gamers free of cost. After all, games and GPS combined put a lot of strain on phone batteries, and while the phone gets charged the likelihood of players buying a cup of coffee increases.

It generates engagement, gives way to conversations, and helps a business stick around in the memory of players. It’s about creating an overall pleasant experience for the players. In most cases though, the rewards for businesses are instant.

Set up frequent Lure Modules

A Lure Module is something that a Pokémon Trainer drops at a Pokestop to attract Pokémon for a full 30 minutes. That means you’d have gamers swarming at your place if you dropped a lure module there.

And they are ridiculously inexpensive, too. Businesses all over are setting up Lure Modules and seeing a spike in customer traffic. The now-famous example of NYC-based pizzeria L’inizio’s Pizza Bar is as good as it gets. They spent just $10 on setting up Lure Modules through the working day and saw a 30% increase in sales over one weekend and a 75% jump since the madness began. The restaurant owner calls the business “unbelievable.”

The way Lure Modules work, businesses are guaranteed a half hour’s customer traffic for as little as $1 (the cost of a 100 Pokecoins, the currency for Lure Modules.)

It’s inevitable that players would want to make a pit stop. So they go grab a drink, a coffee, a slice of pizza, meet new people, strike up conversations, and refreshed, resume their quest. Businesses get to be good Samaritans and also make some money!

Local Marketing and Advertising

Local marketing and advertising just got a lot easier, fun, and cost-effective. The PC Mag has called the boom in local sales Pokeconomy, a Pokémon-driven economy. Businesses of all kinds and sizes have jumped onto the Pokémon bandwagon. Given the tremendous potential here, it would be almost criminal not to tap into it. You are only limited by your imagination, and you already have some ideas about how to do this.

Our Digital Marketing Gym Leaders know exactly how to tap into technological trends to help your business stand out – online and in the real world! From social media and web content, to capturing some of that increased foot traffic in the new Pokeconomy — let us know if you want some help evolving your company’s strategy!

Have you joined the craze, too? How has it helped your business so far? Where can we find your Pokestop?

And, most importantly, who’s your favorite Pokémon?


Pete Peranzo

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