There’s a new smartphone app taking the world by storm, well I say new, what I actually mean is old. Pokémon, the children’s game/cartoon that was so popular back in the 90’s has had a resurgence thanks to a clever new edition that brings Pokémon hunting into the real world through the use of augmented reality. It’s popularity is phenomenal, and it is not just popular with kids, as millions of 20-somethings are using the game to relive their childhoods. Reports are suggesting that just under a week after it’s release, Pokémon Go has been installed on over 5% of all smartphones in the USA. Pokémon Go has now been officially released in the UK, so let’s take a look how Pokémon Go could help your business.
As the game, although virtual, is actually played out using maps in the real world, certain locations become associated with special features within the game. The two most important location based features being Pokéstops and Gyms:
Pokéstops – These locations are marked on map within the app by a blue box hovering above a blue pin. Pokémon Go players have to visit these locations to collect items required for gameplay without having to make in-app purchases.
Gyms – These locations are marked with a tall grey tower, housing a Pokémon on the top. A gym is where players will go to battle with rivals.
The important thing to note is that the game’s creators Niantic have used genuine landmarks and places of interest to place these special locations, so good news for any small businesses that operate in or near landmarks, places of interest or religious buildings. Pokémon Go players have been flocking to these locations as they look to progress through the game. So the first thing to check to see if you can benefit from an increase in footfall thanks to the Pokémon Go phenomenon is by downloading the app and checking your proximity to either of types of in game locations.
If you do find yourself near a Pokéstop then there is a little in-game feature that you can use to boost the popularity of your local Pokéstop even further. ‘Lures’ will attract Pokémon to the stop, encouraging players to visit, and spent an extended period of time there. Available as in-app purchases, ‘lures’ could be a cost effective way to drive users to your location, and keep them there.
If you take a look at the app and you are nowhere near your local Pokéstop or gym then don’t worry, because we have another trick to encourage Pokémon Go players to visit your business. As Pokémon Go players wander the streets, they are directed by a ‘nearby’ feature that tells them how far they are away from any nearby Pokémon at any particular time. Within the game, users can purchase and use an item called ‘incense’; this attracts Pokémon to the location where it was placed, and where Pokémon go, Pokémon Go players go.
There are reports in the USA of city centre bars and restaurants spending around $10 per day on in game ‘incense’ and seeing turnover increase by 75%.
Pulling people towards your business location is only half of the battle, you still need to turn them into paying customers. Offering Pokémon Go special offers could be a great way to drive conversions. A “Use our Pokéstop and get 25% off your order” offer could encourage those additional visitors to start spending some money.
Game developer Niantic have also announced that they are now considering locations for new Pokéstops and Gyms, and are taking requests for the locations of these. Requesting a Pokéstop can be done on the Nianitic website using this support page. In addition to this the CEO of Niantic, John Hanke, has said that sponsored Pokéstops are going to be coming to the game soon. These will give businesses even more opportunities to cash in on the Pokémon Go craze.
So whether you are already near a Pokéstop or not, if your business relies on getting people through the doors of your premises, then Pokémon Go could help you boost your turnover and grow your business. But remember, although Pokémon Go is booming right now this trend will not last forever, so make the most of it while you can.