How to Leverage Pokémon Go to Drive New Sales for Your Business
August 9th, 2016 by
From the first time I booted up Pokémon Blue in my Gameboy Pocket way back in ‘98, I dreamed of being the very best—like no one ever was. Fast-forward to July 7th, 2016, and we all actually live in a Pokémon World. Once Pokémon Go was released, it quickly smashed the previous records of most downloads in a week, fastest app to ten million downloads, and in less than a month after its release, it has topped over twenty million downloads. This is great news for Nintendo. Prior to the release of Pokémon Go, their market share was showing a strong downward trend. The Wii U console was not keeping pace with the powerful technology of the PS4 and Xbox One, they had to liquidate most of their majority share of the Seattle Mariners due to new management, and they had not released a new handheld system (or even talked about a new one) since November 2014.
How Does This Affect Me?
After a little more background, I’ll make this relevant to the business world, I swear. In addition to the 151 unique Pokémon that people are running around trying to catch, there are two very important structures that have been placed in this game — Gyms and Pokestops.
The image above is a Pokémon Gym. Once a player reaches Level 5 in the game, they join the blue Team Mystic, the yellow Team Instinct, or the red Team Valor, represented by the “legendary” birds Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres, respectively. These three teams constantly battle their Pokémon for control of these locations and can train with their teammates to help their gym gain more prestige, which allows more teammates to add their Pokémon to it.
This image is a Pokestop. These locations were selected as landmarks to add the travel aspect of the game. By tapping on a Pokestop, a detail screen pops up which has the name of the location; a photo of the location; and in some cases, a brief description of the location. Swiping the image causes it to spin, which makes it drop a few items and gives the player 50 experience points towards leveling up their avatar. Pokestops can only be activated every five minutes so, under normal circumstances, it is beneficial to collect your items and continue moving on towards the next Pokestop. However, even the most seasoned Pokémon Trainer needs a break every now and then. Unfortunately, to be the very best, training can’t stop. Niantic, the developer of Pokémon Go, thought of this and included an item called a Lure Module in this game.
When a Lure Module is set at a Pokestop, Pokémon are attracted to its location and appear without having to walk around constantly. With enough trainers present, it is even rumored that rare Pokémon show up to the Pokestop. Lure Modules are very seldom given to players as they level up but they are also available for 100 Pokecoins, which is equivalent to $0.99. They only last for 30 minutes, so players are constantly purchasing them and placing them at their favorite Pokestops.
Okay, So How Does This Actually Affect Me?
Yes, there is actually a point to all of this, but it requires a little bit of creativity. Businesses that normally serve as gathering places for large groups of people make ideal candidates for utilizing Pokémon Go to bolster their business. First, you need to see if there is a Pokestop near your business. If a player can stay at your business with the Pokestop active, you’re golden. At the base level, it costs a Trainer a dollar per half hour to keep a Lure Module active on a Pokestop. Once the Lure Module is set, other trainers will be attracted just as much as the Pokémon. The Lure Module owner is the particular subject that you want to collaborate with.
Offering the owner of the Lure Module a small discount is one way to attract business. The chance of getting more business increases as long as you continue to have Lure Modules active. If your business is a coffee shop, maybe consider offering a pastry with a coffee if a customer shows you that they set up a Lure Module. If your business is a bar, maybe consider offering the Lure Module owner a $1 discount on a well drink or domestic beer if they decide to set a Lure Module. The potential is limitless. Some larger locations, such as zoos and parks, can have multiple stops. A zoo, for example, could advertise all of their Pokestops and offer a discount for Pokémon Go players.
Pokémon Gyms may seem harder to work around than Pokestops, but once you consider that every player has already pledged feverish allegiance to their team, a Pokémon Gym all of a sudden becomes the best thing that could’ve happened to your business. In this case, there’s really nothing that you actually have to do. People will eventually migrate towards your business to try to maintain control. It would be worth mentioning that your establishment is a Pokémon Gym on your social media profiles to help spread the news. Maintaining team neutrality would be a good idea; no one really goes into a New Orleans Saints bar and proclaims the Atlanta Falcons are the best team in the league.
That’s a Lot to Poke-think About
Though this may seem very straightforward, any sort of campaign, especially those that involve online presence, is oftentimes left up to the pros. Here at Search Influence, we offer a full suite of online presence options, one of them being Social Media Optimization, which would allow you to relax and let us create your PokeAds for you.
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Great post @Jared.
Another trick which might work — this is an untested theory — is to use Incense. Unlike Lures which can only be used, today, at a Pokéstop, incense can be used and follow you around.
It’s actually a great solution to a problem we discovered talking to Rouler Café owner Wes. The problem was Rouler Café is not near a Pokéstop and therefore couldn’t benefit from Lures.
With Incense, though, Wes could, maybe, deploy some and the Pokémon would flock to his non Pokéstop location.
Someone may tell me why this wouldn’t work, but I think it’s worth a try.
Glad you liked the post. I did a little digging and found some info compiled from the researchers at The Silph Road. Unfortunately, according to their findings, Pokemon found using incense are only accessible to the trainer who used the incense. I do know Niantic is attempting to implement a trading system so maybe the possibility of trading items will come up as well. Incense is also slightly cheaper at base value than Lure Modules (80 coins vs 100 coins) and also has a higher bulk discount purchase available. Check this out if you get the chance: https://www.vg247.com/2016/08/02/pokemon-go-using-incense-to-catch-more-pokemon-the-right-way/
This is such a great post, Jared! I love that you give practical examples of how businesses can use Pokemon Go to their advantage!