Around the globe, tens of millions are wandering the streets, clutching their cell phones while on the hunt for Jigglypuffs, Squirtles, and Pikachus as they play the “augmented reality” epidemic called Pokémon Go. Many of these folks may be exploring new neighborhoods while on their quest, and the “PokeStops” and “gyms” where players gather to collect valuable virtual objects can mean large crowds of potential customers gathering near small businesses and shops across the country. Even if you’re a business owner who thinks the whole Pokémon Go phenomenon is silly or incomprehensible, it would be foolhardy to dismiss something that has the potential to raise awareness of your business and bring scores of new customers into your store.
There are a number of ways that business owners can leverage the power of Pokémon Go to attract trainers – and their wallets:
- Drop a lure. Anyone logged into the Pokémon Go app can drop a “lure” designed to attract the creatures to a location nearby. When those creatures are drawn to a given location, scores of “trainers” will no doubt follow. If your business is near a designated “PokeStop,” you can drop a lure for 30 minutes, at a minimal cost, usually less than a $1 each. It’s a pretty efficient and simple way to quickly increase foot traffic in front of your business.
- Gym up your business. While you can’t lure players to the “gyms” where players come together to do battle with their Pokémon, you can take advantage of the proximity of a gym to draw in customers by integrating your business with the action. If a gym is nearby, you can offer specials to the winning team on a given day, keep a scoreboard in the window updating the latest results, and generally promote your business’ proximity to the gym.
- Get folks charged up. Playing Pokémon Go all day can take up a lot of juice, and players will need to charge their phones in order to keep on the hunt. Offering players a charging station can draw people in the door and keep them there while they wait for their phones to get the power they need.
- Rare finds. Some Pokémon are more equal than others – and harder to find. While Pikachu may be one of the most recognizable of the creatures, it is also one of the rarest and most valuable. If you find that there are hard-to-find Pokémon in your area, make that fact known on social media. You can also use the app’s in-game camerato take pictures of Pokémon in or near your business.
Will the Pokémon Go craze last? Maybe, maybe not. But given the relative ease and minimal cost of getting your business involved in the lives of thousands of potential new customers, you should probably give it a go.