Pokemon Go

Using Pokemon Go To Grow Your Small Business

It’s a phenomenon. It’s the biggest mobile game in history and it’s only been on the market for two weeks.  Pokemon Go is taking the world by storm (or at least several countries as of this writing). Those guys must be making serious money. It sure would be nice to get a piece of that pie. I think you can.  In this article I’ll explain how the game works for the non-player and then posit how you can use this knowledge to increase sales for a small business.  You’ll have to download the app – but it’s free on both Android and iPhones.

What Is Pokemon Go?

Pokemon Go is a location-based, augmented-reality game.  It’s played out in the real world.  The location of your player in the game is directly related to their location in the real world. Also every player sees the same things in the same places that every other player does.  The game uses a smart phone’s GPS capability to put the player in the game and then present important pieces of game-play to the players.  When you see players gathered in a place – say near a piece of public art or monument –  it’s because something is there for them in the game. There’s likely some game resources or the so-called Pokemon gyms in those places.  Now you just need to capitalize on that.

How Can I Make Money From All of the Pokemon Go Players?

If you’re a business like a pizza parlor, coffee shop, ice cream parlor, bookstore, restaurant or other business that caters to attracting customers who might make a purchase and then hang around for a while, then I hope you’ll find this idea very useful and ultimately profitable.  Players can collect Pokémon – the game’s creatures – just about anywhere.  However they also need to collect resources to improve their Pokémon and must have battles with their Pokémon to gain points (and more resources).

It’s these places, the PokéStops (for resources) and Gyms (for battles) that we hope are located near – or even inside –  your business. These are what attract players to specific places in the real world.

How to Use Pokemon Go to Attract Business

I’m going to use a local business here as an example. They’re a local family-owned coffee shop. They compete with the big trendy coffee chain, and they were lucky enough to have a Gym placed in their business. Players will naturally congregate there to play the game – and the coffee shop needs to begin to capitalize on it. By offering a “Pokemon Special” (or something along those lines) they can join in on the excitement. If they post a sign on the door inviting players in to try the new Pokemon Smoothie (or whatever), they’ll catch the player’s interest (and maybe a few of their dollars).

PokeStops and a Gym in Pokemon Go

PokeStops and a Gym in Pokemon Go (Click for larger)

How did they get that Gym? Honestly, they just got lucky. To this date, you cannot request that the game add a gym in your place of business.  But maybe you can get lucky too. If you don’t have a Gym close by, maybe you have a PokéStop near you. These are located in select places, such as public art installations, historical markers, or monuments. If there’s one nearby, you can use it to attract business.

Within the game, players can purchase Lure Modules to lure Pokemon to a specific PokéStop. Once a lure is placed it’s usable by ALL players that come by that location.  Lures are purchasable items that will attract a greater number and variety of Pokemon to the attached PokéStop. So if your business is near a PokéStop, you can buy some of these lures and use them to lure customers.

Did you say “Buy”? Yes. You can buy items in the game with real money.  Pokemon Go has their own currency – called what else but “PokéCoins”.  100 PokéCoins cost $0.99 from the app.  100 PokéCoins buys you one Lure Module which lasts for 30 minutes.  So the simple math here shows you that for a dollar, you can attract players to your business for 30 minutes.  Of course, there are price breaks for buying more. They have packages for $5, $10, $20 on up to the maximum: for $99 you’ll get 14,500 PokéCoins.  Who the heck would spend $99 on a stupid game?  Well not everyone, and you shouldn’t at first.  But if this is something that takes off for your business, then consider this: for $99 you’re getting the ability to attract players for 84 hours (you get some in-game price breaks too). That’s $1.19/hour.

The idea here is to get the word out that you’re paying for the lures (and again lures work for ALL players). So get on social media and your other advertising channels… heck you can even hang a sign in your window telling all Pokemon trainers that you’ll be setting lures at this or that PokéStop (close by your shop) from 2-3:30pm this Saturday.  Does your restaurant do a “family night”? Consider setting lures out from 6-8pm that night. Then you can also run a “PokéSpecial” offering 10% off for players showing you their most powerful Pokemon.  Also, if you offer free Wifi, let them know that too. This game is a data hog on their phones. They’ll be happy to play in your shop.

In a follow up article, I’ll do a step-by-step on how to register an account for purposes like this and let you know exactly what to look for in the game to know if your business can use the ideas outlined above.

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