Unless you live under a rock, you’ve likely heard of Pokemon GO and the buzz it has created in the last couple of weeks. It’s attracting people of all ages – I’ve seen adults & children alike wandering about, staring at their phones like it’s the zombie apolcalypse.
Businesses have noticed as well and have recently found ways to capitalize on this new craze; after all, it’s the first app of its kind that requires players to be out and about. Many times Pokestops are found near businesses, and this created a great opportunity.
Below are four interesting ways businesses have taken advantage of the Pokemon GO insanity:
Pokemon GO Tours: a simple concept really – find a route where Pokemon are in abundance, create a tour, and charge customers for the ride.
This is exactly what is popping up across the country. A recently launched Pokemon GO Tour in Austin combines catching Pokemon with a tour of the city. Here’s a brief description of how it works according to a recent article:
“Everyone get out your phones and get ready,” said Philip Loyd to a bus full of Pokemon passengers.
Loyd guided passengers by live tracking Pokemon creatures and alerted passengers on what they’re about to catch, when and how long they have.
“Alright, everyone, so we have a cadaver coming up. We have about 90 seconds to catch it,” Loyd told the gamers aboard the air conditioned bus.
When there’s a lull of virtual creatures, Loyd gave background information on neighborhoods they passed through.
The bus tour that started in East Austin eventually makes its way to famous Austin landmarks. One of the tour stops is Vic Mathias Shores, a hotspot for pocket monsters.
Here, passengers spread out and conquered as many Pokemon as they could.
Such a simple idea, right? Other tours are quickly popping up, such as the one at Churchill Downs and the above mentioned Austin tour – just Google “Pokemon bus tours” and see how many pop up.
Animal shelters utilize Pokemon GO players as volunteers: this is probably my favorite use of Pokemon GO:
From reports on this program, it seems that it has been successful in increasing foot traffic to the shelter. It’s a win-win situation – increases awareness of animals that are available for adoption and, at the same time, gives the shelter animals a bit more attention and exercise. I’m sure the shelter volunteers appreciate the extra help!
Pokestops as a means of luring customers their way: businesses have been on the hunt to find Pokestops near their business. While they cannot create a Pokestop at their business (yet – sounds like “sponsored locations” will be launched soon), if there is one nearby, they may have some luck with purchasing Lures to encourage people to be near their place of business.
A Lure is simply a feature of the game that will do as it says – “lure” nearby Pokemon into your area for players to catch. It’s simple enough to purchase a Lure, but keep in mind it may not work if you don’t have a Pokestop nearby and/or it is too far away.
To Purchase Lures:
- Open the Pokemon Go app
- Catch your first Pokemon and you’ll get a red Pokeball
- Tap the red Pokeball at the bottom of the screen and hit “Shop”
- Scroll down and buy a pack of Pokecoins (the apps currency)
- Once you have Pokecoins use them to buy a Lure Module
Are there Pokemon around you? Shout it to the masses! When businesses realize that Pokemon are hanging out nearby, they have turned to social media & other marketing avenues to promote this fact, hoping to increase foot traffic (and customers). Some things businesses have used:
- Post to social media sites to alert players that there are Pokemon in the area, and follow up by offering a special discount if they come in, make a purchase, and mention Pokemon GO.
- Encourage foot traffic to turn into sales by offering discounts and deals for those that show screenshots of Pokemon captured at their place of business.
- Knowing there is a nearby Pokestop, businesses have created signage that is displayed in store windows encouraging Pokemon GO players to wander into the store.
Who knows how long this Pokemon GO craze will last – it’s hard to tell, but while it is the talk of the town, many businesses have seen the value in making the most of it. It’s a good time for business owners to download the app and see what creates are lurking nearby – it might be good for increased foot traffic and sales!