Love it or hate it, the Pokémon phenomenon from the late 90s is back and it’s a trend you need to get on board with if you’re a local business owner and want to cash in.
Since launching just a week ago in the states, Pokémon Go, has quite literally taken over the US and now it’s conquering the UK.
Don’t believe me? Well let’s take a look at US Google Trends over the past 12 months:
So what about the UK? Officially launching yesterday, Pokémon Go has blown Brexit, Cameron and May out of the water.
So what is Pokémon Go?
Firstly, the question should be: What is Ingress? Ingress is an augmented-reality map based game created by Niantic and played by millions across the globe. Launching in 2012 for Android and 2014 for Apple, players choose a faction when they sign up – The Enlightened (represented by the colour green) or The Resistance (represented by the colour blue).
The aim of the game is to walk around your local area using the augmented in-app map trying to claim ‘portals’ for your faction. Working with unknown members of your faction, you capture and connect portals to try to turn areas of the map blue or green.
Niantic and Nintendo worked together to produce Pokémon Go based on Ingress. The portals in Ingress (a historical or cultural landmark pulled from Geotagged images on Google) are generally where Pokémon’s PokéStop and gyms are.
Pokémon Go is largely modelled on Ingress, it shares the same places of interest, it gets people out exploring their neighbourhood and it drains batteries like you wouldn’t believe.
How can my business monetise Pokémon Go?
Businesses in the US are already reporting massively increased footfall since the launch of Pokémon Go. As the app actively forces players to get out and walk around their neighbourhood, local businesses are benefitting the most from the new game and here’s how you can too…
Is your business a PokéStop or Pokémon Gym?
First thing’s first, you need to find out if your business premises is lucky enough to be a PokéStop or Pokémon Gym. Put simply, a PokéStop is a landmark or building where Pokémon loot is dropped (anything from Pokéballs to medicines for injured Pokémon). If your business is a PokéStop, you better believe you’re going to see a surge in passing trade with people looking to load up on digital goodies.
A Pokémon Gym is a landmark or building where players hang out for a while at a time as they train and fight their Pokémon. If your business happens to be a Pokémon Gym, then you too will soon notice a huge increase in potential customers who are hanging around for longer than usual.
Using the Ingress Intel map, anyone with an Ingress login is able to see where portals are located. As PokéStops and Gyms are based on Ingress portals, you’ll find the Ingress Intel Map translates quite nicely to Pokémon Go.
Using in-app purchases to boost footfall
In the app, players can purchase Pokécoins in the shop – 79p per 100 coins or available in cheaper bundles up to £79.99 – with the coins, players can buy everything from more Pokémon balls to ‘Lures’.
A ‘Lure’ is essentially a magnet for Pokémon. As soon as you purchase and enable a lure near a PokéStop, Pokémon (and customers trying to catch them) are attracted to your location for 30 minutes. If you’re a business owner with a shop on a PokéStop, all you have to do it set a lure and wait for footfall to improve. Alerting your social media followers when you’re going to drop a Lure is a great way to engage them and create buzz.
The best thing is, it’s much cheaper than you think! Buying the biggest bundle of Pokécoins works out the best value at £79.99. Priced at 100 Pokécoins per Lure, for a £79.99 investment, you can buy 145 lures. That’s 145 x 30 mins of increased footfall.
That’s right, you can boost your footfall for 30 minutes for just 55p!
How can you monetise gym users?
If you’re located near or on a Pokémon Gym, you can capitalise on the constant flow of people without needing to use Lures. People will come to your business regardless, so extend a friendly welcome and you’re going to make money. A few ideas include:
- Put a sign up letting customers know Pokémon trainers are welcome to come in
- Offer discounts or giveaways for Pokémon trainers to encourage them to spend money when they visit your premises
- Celebrate when a new trainer takes over the gym by offering them a freebie
- Offer access to wall plugs for free phone charging to boost batteries
- Be active on social and encourage your customers to share what Pokémon they caught/battled in your area
My business premises isn’t near a gym or PokéStop
Not close to a PokéStop or gym? Then get mobile! Take samples or have a pop-up shop where the crowds are gathering to make the most of it. You could still offer discounts to people playing who are passing your door and wouldn’t usually.
It’s not often a game or app urges customers to come to you, with very little effort from your side, so make the most of it!