Pokémon GO for Businesses: How to Embrace the TrendBusiness House
Even if you’re not playing Pokémon GO you’ve likely seen an influx in people out and about, all staring at their phones more than usual. It’s no surprise that the biggest mobile game in U.S. history would not only soar to the top of the charts, but its impact is almost impossible to ignore as players take to the streets all hours of the day (and night) to catch ‘em all. Unlike many mobile games that can be played while players sit in one location, Pokémon GO actually requires players to get up and move, which means more foot-traffic for businesses like yours, unique opportunities to attract customers, and the potential to increase sales. Here are some of the ways you can take advantage of the Pokémon craze:
If your business is a Pokéstop
Pokéstops are locations in the game where players can collect free items that they need to hunt Pokémon and battle other players at gyms. If your business happens to be a Pokéstop you’re in luck! Not only do they regenerate every five minutes, but they deliver multiple items at once including pokéballs, eggs, and potions. Players will be frequenting your area for the freebies, some of them even posting up for lengthy periods of time to rebuild their supply, and this presents you with a few options to consider.
You can put signs up in your windows or sidewalks, as well as post on social media, advertising your business as a Pokéstop. Not only will you attract new business, but your already loyal customers will have one more reason to drop in. Enticing copy may even sway the most dedicate Pokémon trainers, so don’t shy away from reminding them that you have delicious food, tasty beverages, attire suitable for hunting in various weather conditions, or even cool air conditioning where they’re welcome to cool off on hot summer days.
Pokéstops also give players the option to attach a lure module to the stop, which attracts Pokémon directly to the area it surrounds. Not only do you have the option to start your own account and place the lure modules, but players can and will place them on their own if they plan to be in the area for the duration of the lure, which is 30 minutes. And if you plan to drop your own lure, or several back-to-back, that’s worth noting too! If you plan for it and share your “lure party” on social media it can help pull in business during hours that are typically slower.
If your business is a gym
Gyms are another type of location in the Pokémon GO world and your business may just be one. After players reach a certain level they join a team – Mystic, Valor, or Instinct – allowing them the opportunity to battle at local gyms. Players from one team use their Pokémon to fight those of an opposing team, then teammates insert Pokémon into the gym to claim and defend it.
Gyms are highly trafficked locations and depending on how high of a level the gym itself is, players may have to spend adequate time taking over an established gym for their own team. When it comes to benefitting your business, set your username as the business name and level up the account, and pick one of the three teams yourself. (For an added bonus, get your employees on board and join the same team!) You can take over gyms and as opposing teams come to battle they will see your business’s name as the gym leader.
As a member of a team you can also offer fun, unique promotions – discounts for those who are on your team or a special reward for players who leave Pokémon behind to defend your gym. It may even be worthwhile to keep a running scoreboard in your business noting the gym leader at certain times of day or declaring your victory in holding your gym for a specific allotment of time. Being inclusive to Pokémon GO players will just encourage them to drop to not only battle in the gym, but to stop by your business as well.
If you’re not…
Many businesses don’t have the luxury of being a Pokéstop or Gym, but that doesn’t mean you have to miss out! Social media is one of the most powerful tools a business can wield and when it comes to targeting Pokémon GO players and you can use it to benefit your business.
Showcase your Pokémon. You can’t talk about battles or free pokéballs, but you can always talk about your Pokémon! A number of factors go in to determining which Pokémon will spawn in an area including location, trainer level, time, popularity, and even weather. For you, location and timing are going to be the biggest to take into consideration. Pull up the app periodically, see what shows up or shows up nearby, see what pops up when you wander your premises, and talk about it! (As long as it isn’t a Pidgey or Rattata anyway.)
For a few weeks Business House was a hub for Bulbasaurs, which many people were having trouble locating around town. We took the opportunity to share it on social media and even had several people make their way down to try and catch their own. For a retail or dining location a simple discovery like that could go even further – especially as rare Pokémon begin cropping up as players continue to level up. It’s also worth asking, either through signage or on social media, if players will tag you in any posts if they catch Pokémon at your business.
- Hit the road! If you have the opportunity – go mobile! Not every business is able to load up their products or merchandise and head out to the most popular Pokémon hunting ground, but if you are, go for it! Work with other business owners who may be closed in evenings and ask about setting up shop on their property when people are out playing the game after work and school, sign-up for local markets or events where you can set-up and talk about the Pokémon that may not be available in your regular location, even plan an itinerary so you can visit various locations over a period of time to draw out new customers.
- Offer experiences. Not being a designated Poké spot also means you have the option to offer unique experiences that other business owners aren’t considering. For example, you can host an event like a Pokémon hunt or bar crawl and invite people to join. The starting and ending location could be your business, offering specials or exclusive deals to event participants. Employees could participate as well, sporting your merchandise, conducting giveaways, etc. to remind everyone who exactly made this happen and leave everyone with a lasting impression.
- Showcase relevant products. If your store carries electronic devices and accessories you can also embrace the mobility of Pokémon GO. Push your portable chargers, more durable phones cases, battery-pack cases, and stock up on Pokémon themed accessories if you’re able; display them at a prominent location in your store, front and center if you can. And don’t forget, the Pokémon GO Plus wristband is coming later this year if you can get your hands on them.
Going back to social media, it is worth taking some time to promote these options across your social platforms. While the game continues to be make headlines and grow in popularity, it’s also smart to consider investing advertising money toward these promotions to draw more people to your business. One of the best things about social platforms is reaching your target audience efficiently and on a budget. You don’t have to spend a small fortune to embrace this game or lure its fans to your business; a little can go a long way, depending on how dedicated you are.
The future of Pokémon GO
The game has been out for a few weeks now, but don’t think it’s too late to get involved. The world of Pokémon GO is still brand new and there is a lot coming. One of the biggest rumors is that players will be afforded the opportunity to trade Pokémon (event night anyone?) and teams are going to be much more important in the future as well. Even more exciting for players, and the businesses who are lucky enough to land them in their location, some of the rarer Pokémon that have yet to be seen are on their way. We may also see Pokémon Centers cropping up, possibly taking the place of Pokéstops. And if you’re really invested, paid sponsorships, in the form of sponsored locations, are on the horizon as well. In the meantime, you can always request a Pokéstop or Gym from Niantic Labs, but there is no guarantee that you’ll get one or hear back.
Bottom line: Pokémon GO isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. If your business has a chance to benefit from the craze, why wouldn’t you take it? And of course, if you need help embracing this trend or putting a plan into action, feel free to reach out to us anytime.