PokemonGo for Your Retail Business

July 14, 2016

Pokemon Go

"Pokémon GO is officially the biggest mobile game in the United States, with 21 million active daily users, edging past Candy Crush Saga’s 20 million peak active user count in the US" (Forbes).

This new app has taken over the internet - from actual use, to posts discussing the pros and cons on society, to the stories that have surfaced. My inner child is extremely excited to blog about this right now...

"PokemonGo has 21 Million Daily Active Users

(Surpassing Candy Crush)


We (and clearly many retailers) immediately thought about how this new game has effected the landscape of customer engagement. People are wondering around new areas of their towns and discovering everything from new restaurants, to landmarks, to stores.

As this CNCB article states:  "The new free-to-play [augmented reality] gaming app has broad implications for retail as it addresses declining mall traffic, plus emerging trends toward social experience and health [and] wellness... beyond simply bringing shoppers into malls and other physical stores, where players can collect rewards at so-called Pokestops, the app's popularity is the first time augmented reality has taken off en masse."

In the same Forbes article we mentioned before, we see just how much more time users are spending on PokemonGo (beating social giant, Facebook):

Credit: Sensor Tower


So how can we leverage this new craze? Here's 3 Ways:

Here our our favorite small business that have already used the craze in creative ways to engage their customers and some results so far  (images from Buzzfeed):

Promotional Engagement


This is a common tactic - the sign offers % off products if customers leave a 'lure' outside. According to this ITweb article, L'inizio Pizza Bar in Long Island City in New York claims its sales jumped 75% over the weekend by activating a "lure module" feature that attracts virtual Pokémon characters to the store, thereby tempting in nearby players. The store's manager spent $10 to have a dozen Pokémon characters placed in the location, according to a report in the New York Post.


Leveraging Organic Recognition (Look into how to buy a Poke Stop now!)


If you aren't familiar - there are Gyms and Poke Stops on a players map and they need to go there to either train their Pokemon or get new supplies. Many Companies who just by chance of luck are already utilizing the fact they are an interest point in their social media.

The Lesson: get social with this and have interactive games on your marketing radar. These Rumors have McDonalds creating partnerships with the game as well as players being rewarded for going to certain places (could be bad news for Four-square).

Idea: Host a Pokemon social or partner with other stores to host a walk. The more people, the more Pokemon appear!


Getting Competitive (and Relevant)


Here is a great segment from Retail Customer Experience: "While thousands of gamers are hitting the malls and small business districts, most are not buying or even browsing, according to several news reports. Instead, gamers are seeking out Pokemon Gyms and PokeStops for training Pokemon and getting free game items.

Retailers would be smart to welcome the gamers as gamers get hungry and gamers, like all consumers, are always looking for a good deal!

"It is like with anything in marketing…the more engaged you are with your customer the better the return. Simply being a Poke Stop Or Gym is great (AND LUCKY) but embracing the craze and making the Pokemon Trainers feel acknowledged and welcome is going to make them more likely to spend," Stacey Kane, CMO, East Coast Wings & Grill.

"Also there is the case for just being relevant. If the entire country is talking about Pokemon why wouldn’t your brand be taking part of the conversation?," she added.


But here is the question... will it last?

PokemonGo might fizzle out into the night as quickly as it came, but with rumors of a similar Harry Potter app and more on the horizon, this tech is here to stay. Thought leading retailers should have an eye and an ear out and begin to strategize how they can grow their business!

But for now....

  • How do we leverage PokemonGo into our retail strategy while keeping the organic feeling of the game and balancing on that beam from being clever and "in-touch" to being sales-y?
  • Where do you think this trend is going?
  • How are you going to leverage it?

Leave a comment below with your thoughts!


Make sure to check out our Top Retail News which in a separate blog this week (we hate making your scroll too much!).

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