How Small Businesses Can Cash In On Pokemon Go

Article by: Dan Raaf  https://www.linkedin.com/in/draaf

Amidst a brutal week of controversy and tragedy amplified through the social channels, a silly game has created an overnight sensation in both the digital and physical world.   Exploding across the internet in the form of videos, memes, blogs…Pokemon GO has people leaving the comfort of their homes and hobbit holes to capture these digital pocket monsters in their native wild.

Pokémon GO is an augmented reality game which requires users (Pokemon Trainers) to go outside and physically seek out digital monsters as well as catching, training, battling, and nurturing them.

This app has installs going through the roof, more importantly, people are really using and enjoying it (myself included).  

What Does This Mean for Business?

A lot.  Especially for retailers who rely on foot traffic.  This can be a pivotal point on how we approach influencing consumer behavior.

Several businesses have already caught on, as brilliantly put in Forbes .  People are literally wandering around sidewalks and streets trying to "catch 'em all".  

And while some may argue their personal beliefs and the "good ol' days", this is an opportunity for businesses to connect with consumers while driving potential foot traffic to their storefronts.

How do you attract Pokémon Trainers to your store?

Integrate with a PokeStop

A PokeStop is a place for people to catch their Pokémon – these locations are like shooting fish in a barrel for Pokemon Trainers.  Some establishments (churches, restaurants, museums, parks…) are already established as PokeStops.  

If your business isn’t an established PokeStop, you are probably very close to one.  It isn't currently possible to "buy" or rent a PokeStop (as it should be, hopefully soon).  Depending on your vicinity, you'll need to utilize some soft sell and inbound strategies to attract wayfaring Pokemon Trainers closer to your store.  [Feel free to contact me for some ideas.]  

An option to immediately boost Pokemon presence and their potential capturers is to activate a Lure Module at one of these PokeStops 

A Lure Module is something that attracts Pokémon to a spot for 30 minutes.  By purchasing a Lure Module, these little digital monsters will migrate to wherever that module may be located.  Activating one at the PokeStop near your place of business will inevitably attract anybody within a city block looking to catch these buggers.  And believe me, people are looking.

Lure Modules are active for 30 minutes.  Consider trying one out at a slower visitor time.  Or maybe a busier time for nearby businesses.  If you are a retail shop with restaurants nearby, activating a Lure Module at lunch or dinner time may actually drive some traffic through your doors – or at least close enough for you to say "Hi".  You should also participate with fellow Pokémon Trainers, maybe dolling out a small prize for somebody that has a Pikachu. 

How Much Does It Cost?

PokeMath

You can buy 14,500 Pokecoins for $100 (US dollars).  One Lure Module costs 100 Pokecoins.  You can also buy in bulk at the rate of 85 Pokecoins per Lure Module.  Remember, one Lure Module buys 30 minutes of Pokémon attraction.

14,500/85 = 170-ish Lure Modules x 30 minutes = 85 hours of Pokémon attraction.   That's 85 hours of potential traffic boosts for $100.

Would you spend $1.18 to potentially increase foot traffic during a slow period?

If you pay some dude minimum wage ($9 in CA) to spin a sign for 85 hours, that’s $765 (not including those other employee costs).

So you could essentially save $665 while connecting with local weirdos chasing invisible monsters.  A lot of these are millennials.  And this Pokemon thing might really work!

This is a real game changer - it will be worth your while to seriously consider investing (or “wasting”) a little bit of time and money on this game. 

This is also an opportunity for many businesses to connect with consumers on a more intimate level.  You aren’t just selling something, you are fellow Pokémon Trainers with a common goal.  And while they’re visiting, maybe they will buy something.

How to Get Pokémon GO

Pokémon GO is a free app can be found in the app stores for both Apple and Android.  You will need to sign in through a Google account.

I’m not going to go into detail on Pokémon Gyms or buying candy or how to name these things.  There are tons of other articles on that. 

Personal Note

I work out four times per week at a local park.  I’ve been going to this same park for over 2 years now.  Never, since I’ve been here, have I seen so many people meandering around.  All glued to their phones.  Often in groups of 3.  And I’m not talking just kids.  There are squads of 20-30 year-olds, fully tatted and vaping.  Romantic couples, walking hand in hand around checkpoints to ball up a Pidgeotto.  This is a real thing.  My mind is blown.  I'm also hooked on the game, myself.

Over the course of 24 hours, I have amassed 48 Pokémon, 2 eggs, and 2 very sore calves from jogging around a park wearing a weighted vest, trying to catch these damn things.

*Notice of Corrections*

When I originally wrote this article (2 am Monday morning) I was under the impression that a Lure Module can be activated anywhere.  This is not the case.  Lure Modules can only be activated at a designated PokeStop.  For a business to benefit from this "investment" you must be located within a reasonable proximity while attempting to entice consumers with some "carrot".

I hope to connect with the owners of this game to see how soon businesses can "buy their way" into becoming a PokeStop or Gym.  

Article by: Dan Raaf  https://www.linkedin.com/in/draaf