This is the latest viral phenomenon to hit the mobile gaming market and the internet for that matter. Pokémon Go is a location-based gaming app developed by Niantic Labs in partnership with Nintendo, and to say it is ‘blowing up’ is no exaggeration. The daily average users for the app have already surpassed that of social media applications like Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter and Instagram.
The app which was initially only released on the US, Australia & New Zealand app stores (both android and apple) has seen a large number of downloads. This Pokémon app is something that appeals to a large demographic of people – from the 90’s kids who used to collect the cards to the current generation of young ones who are just learning about the world of Pokémon. This large demographic is what has resulted in the significant surge in downloads as well as daily users. The value of Nintendo alone has risen by about $7 billion in the week since the apps release.
So as you can probably tell the Pokémon Go hype is very much real, so how can small business owners use this hype to help promote their businesses?
The app uses your phones GPS and camera to turn the real world into an augmented reality Pokéworld where you can as a trainer find and capture your very own iconic Pokémon creatures. The app also randomly assigns locations as ‘Gyms’ or ‘Pokéstops’ where users can visit to train their Pokémon, get supplies and battle other players. As a local business there’s a chance that your location could be one of these Gyms or Pokéstop! If this is the case then prepare yourself for the sudden boom of foot traffic in your area.
Some owners will see this as a negative when a bunch of people who don’t seem to be genuine customers start walking in and around your store looking for Pokémon! But don’t turn them away, get them in and try to convert them into paying customers. This can be done using various Pokémon themed marketing. You could simply have a message on your door saying “Come get your Pokéballs, find some unique Pokémon!” or if you are a café/restaurant you could create Pokémon themed menu items (like a drink or snack).
If you are lucky enough for your business to be marked as a Pokéstop you could even purchase mods so that it creates lures which attract these virtually digital creatures to your location – And if there’s imaginary Pokémon there then people will follow!
So instead of frowning on the hype maybe it’s time small businesses embrace it and find a way to monetize on the large user base it has created.