Whether you like it or not, Pokémon Go has taken off. Some small business owners have been irritated with the “augmented reality” app and have taken to putting up signs banning Pokémon trainers from their establishments. Others, however, have figured out that welcoming the game in their business creates an excellent marketing opportunity.
Small businesses owners have begun using Nintendo’s popular mobile app to draw in customers, increasing sales by as much as 75%. What’s exciting about this strategy is that what they’ve discovered is inexpensive, transparent, and easy marketing. Take L’Inizio Pizza on Long Island, NY, for example. They used the strategy we’ll outline below to such great success they had lines out the door and around the block — for days.
Whether you’re a well-established small business or a brand new shop, consider downloading the app. You don’t have to “Catch Them All,” but you could end up catching more customers.
Step 1: Understanding The Game
Before you open up the App Store or Google Play, let’s take a moment to understand how Pokémon Go operates. Players move around on a virtual map that matches the actual streets they’re walking on. On this map, the game’s developers have tagged places called Pokéstops, which are valuable to players and correspond with real-life landmarks. If your business is near a cultural or historical landmark, you’re in luck. If you’re not, you still may be able to use this strategy to draw in new faces.
Step 2: Deciding If Pokémon Are Good For Business
Small business owners have been spending real money on an in-game item called a Lure Module to draw Pokémon to nearby Pokéstops. Active Lures spawn Pokémon near the Pokéstop and can be used by the game’s entire community. By drawing Pokémon to a nearby Pokéstop, players will be more likely to walk past your business, and, if a Pokémon appears in your shop or your office, people may even stop in to catch one and say hello (the polite Pokémon collectors at least). Cool, right?
Step 3: How To Place a Lure
You first must download the free app and set up an account. The next step is to purchase a Lure Module in the game’s store. Lures cost about $0.99 and last 30 minutes once they’ve been activated.
After you’ve purchased a Lure, walk to the nearest Pokéstop, which are easy to find considering the game is run using GPS. Pokéstops appear as bright blue flags and can only be accessed if you’re within about 40 meters of them. Once you’re close enough to one, use your touch screen to click on the actual stop. A large, circular picture of your Pokéstop will appear on the screen, and above this will be a white oval-shaped tab for you to click on. From here, follow the in-game prompts to place your Lure and watch as dozens of Pokémon spawn before your very eyes.
Step 4: Using Pokémon To Increase Business
Those businesses who have blocked Pokémon Go! won’t notice any change in their customer base — and may even lose customers who love the game. However, the businesses that have embraced this trend have boosted their image a lot over the past several weeks.
If you are placing Lures or are merely close to a Pokéstop, Pokémon are something that you can use to your advantage. Some businesses put game references on their signboards, others hang up alerts and tips in their windows. Whatever you choose to do, letting your community know that you’re in on the fun indicates that your business supports its customer’s interests.