Nintendo’s “Pokémon Go” now has more users than Instagram, WhatsApp, and Snapchat. You may be seeing people walking around as though they’re on autopilot: head down, phone in hand, roaming around your neighborhood. They aren’t texting or posting on social media—they’re trying to catch Pokémon. And people are doing just about anything to “Catch ‘em all.” As a small business, there are ways for you to harness the power of Pokémon Go to increase foot traffic and generate real revenue, not just loiterers.
To start, log in to the Pokémon Go App and see if your business is near a “PokéStop” or “Gym” (see image below) which pop up in the game’s map. A PokéStop allows users to acquire valuable materials to catch the monsters, whereas a Gym is where users go to train their Pokémon or battle others in an arena. The best-case scenario is that your business would be one of these important locations, or very close to one. If not, there are still ways to take advantage of this phenomenon to drive foot traffic to your business.
PokéStop, drop and roll
Predetermined locations were selected by Nintendo to be PokéStops before the launch of the game. These show up on players’ maps as blue cubes (see below). Once you get close enough, the cube turns into a circle for users to collect useful items players need to be successful in the game. This draws players from all over the local area, and if your business is close to one, be sure to promote that on your social channels.
Players are drawn to these stops and the surrounding area because they offer the chance to not only catch new Pokémon but also get their hands on rare in-game items, such as Pokéballs, potions, eggs and more.
Lure Modules? Lure Customers.
A lure module attracts Pokémon to a Pokéstop for 30 minutes. In that time, everyone in that direct area can benefit from the effects. If your business is located near a Pokéstop, you can (and should) set off a “lure module.” It turns the regular Pokéstop into a hub of activity and encourages crowds of people to come closer.
You might think that since lure modules cost money, you should shy away, but it’s very affordable. With $100 netting you 14,500 Pokecoins and an eight-pack of Lures costing 680 Pokecoins:
14,500 Pokecoins / 680 = 21 eight-packs of lures
(21 * 8)/2 = 84 hours
$100/84 hours = $1.19 per hour
So for $1.19 an hour, your business could double its business and draw a new audience you might not even know you had. The Lures can only be set off at a PokéStop, so choose your spot wisely. Here’s how to place one easily.
Host a PokéHunt
You’ve heard of bar crawls, and this idea is similar. There is an item in Pokémon Go that allows you to “hatch eggs.” And the only way to do so is to walk a certain amount of kilometers (and no you can’t cheat by driving, unfortunately). The average egg takes about three miles (5 km) of walking to hatch. You can encourage the group by saying whoever catches the rarest Pokémon or hatches the most eggs gets a free item that your business offers (i.e. sandwich, t-shirt or future service). Below are good steps to take to create one.
- Create a Facebook event publicizing the hunt and invite all your friends, and encourage others to share it.
- Write down where all the PokéStops are in within a three-mile radius of your business.
- On the day of your event, set off a Lure Module 30 minutes before the start time.
- Give everyone your “map of stops” to take.
- Tell the group that the person who catches the rarest Pokémon or hatches the most eggs will win a prize at the end.
- The event should last about two hours.
- At the end set off another Lure Module at your business, hand out prizes and discuss with customers the Pokémon that they caught.
During the time that the lure modules are live, users will want to hang around in that vicinity to catch rare Pokémon. They’ll also need something to do – like buy/use your products.
Primary color war
Once players reach Level 5 they are asked to join a team: Team Instinct (yellow), Team Mystic (blue), or Team Valor (red). Players compete on behalf of their team when they go to battle. The allegiance is strong within the teams and could be a good way to offer a discount for a certain team at different times throughout the day. You could, for example, have flash sales in which a certain team receives 30 percent off their purchase for a short period of time. All the customer/Pokémon hunter needs to do is show the cashier their Pokémon Go profile to prove they’re a member.
Some online stores are even creating “badges” for each team. Buying a bundle of badges and having them at checkout is just another way of letting your customers know you appreciate their Pokémon hunting, and they’ll be much more likely to stop by again.
Show us your Snorlax
Rare Pokémon are hard to spot, let alone catch in the game. Offering perks to players who tag and share a photo of the rare Pokémon they find in your area is a great way to drive increased traffic. Charizard, Snorlax, and Wigglytuff are among the “epic” monsters in the game – and people will go far out of their way to snatch one up.
And if you don’t believe me after reading how this can help your business – here are 17 businesses that are cashing in on the craze.
So don’t shy away from Pokémon Go, embrace it and invite customers to come in and take a Pikachu.