Cash in on the Pokémon GO Craze

Photo: Pokemon GO

By now you’ve probably heard about the augmented reality game Pokémon Go. The insanely popular app is getting tons of press, and for good reason; in the last week, the game became the most downloaded and top grossing app, and is about to surpass Twitter for the number of daily active users. It’s also the first to bring the concept of augmented reality to a mass consumer audience.

Still confused about what it is? The New York Times breaks it down for us:

The game — in which players try to capture exotic monsters from Pokémon, the Japanese cartoon franchise — uses a combination of ordinary technologies built into smartphones, including location tracking and cameras, to encourage people to visit public landmarks, seeking virtual loot and collectible characters that they try to nab … Players traverse the physical world following a digital map, searching for cartoon creatures that surface at random. People look through their smartphone cameras to find Pokémon. When an animated creature appears, they toss Pokéballs at it until it is subdued.

In addition to tracking the animated characters all over town, players can visit virtual Pokémon Gyms that allow players to train and battle others, and PokéStops, which are essentially “general stores” for the game.

So how can your businesses capitalize on this emerging technology? Well, climbing gyms near existing PokéStops and Pokémon Gyms have an opportunity to embrace the phenomenon and its accompanying potential customers. There are great suggestions in this Forbes article, including using PokéStops at your business location as social media content, creating special events for Pokémon hunters in the neighborhood, offering special deals to Pokemon teams, and use the purchasable “Lure Module” which attracts Pokémon to a particular PokéStop for 30 minutes to draw extra attention during events or slow days.

The game developers have also indicated that in the near future they will be announcing details about sponsored locations inside Pokémon GO in the near future, which could provide an entirely novel form of digital advertising to businesses.

Regardless of whether or not you’re ready to jump on the Pokémon GO bandwagon yourself, keep in mind this game could be deploying an enormous wave of potential customers right to your doorstep. So if you haven’t yet checked it out yet, download it for free from the Google Play Store (where it is at #1 ahead of Snapchat and Facebook Messenger) or the Apple App Store – there’s a good chance you could already be one of these Gyms or PokéStops! If that’s the case, prepare for the influx of foot traffic and potential customers.