Pokemon Go, at this point you have played it, know someone who is playing it, or heard about it on the news.
I was out to dinner with friends last night and I saw endless amounts of 18 to late 20-year-olds walking around with phones out, stopping at seemly random businesses and landmarks trying to catch Pokemon.
At first I thought this was silly, and even mocked some of these players but I then reluctantly downloaded it and started playing – just to see what it was all about. What I found was not only an additive game – but the glimpse of the future of how games, augmented reality and location marketing is coming together.
Not only is Pokemon Go going viral, but it is causing thousands of people to walk around cities going to local businesses, landmarks, and buildings for no other reason then to level up the game.
Local Businesses Are Fighting Back
I then saw several articles such as the one to the right showing how many businesses are either being overwhelm with too many people going to the business and overwhelming staff, or this article showing how others are no longer letting employees play the game while at work.
At first glance, these may seem to increase productivity and get non paying customers out of your store – especially if you were like me and thought the game was silly. But that naive thinking might get your local business hurt in the long run.
Don’t Fight Pokemon Go – Embrace it!
If you own a local business you need to download Pokemon go now from the app store and start playing – or just ask your kids. Either way here is what you need to know about the game:
- The game is a location base game that you must play in real life by walking around to different destinations in your town.
- There are two different types of locations in the game – Gyms, where players do battle against one another, and Pokestops, where players can get free items in the game to help them.
- Your business might already be one of these which is why you need to download the game and find out.
- If you are lucky enough to be an in game location. Start thinking about ways to embrace players to come into your business and convert them into a customers.
Here are a few ideas:
- Create a special dish or package for Pokemon players
- Use the in the game add-on “lure module” to throttle customers into your business! Lure modules will increase the amount of Pokemon players can capture at a “Pokestop” for 30 minutes.
- Use it like this museum did and take pictures of your business with Pokemon and share it on social media
- Put a sign outside to invite customers to take a break from walking. Some players may even just walk past your business and not even come in
- Encourage your employees to play if they help increase your business location – keep them in check of course!
Much More To Learn
Understand the game is still very new and everyone is still figuring out how to use it. Furthermore, we do not fully understand what type of demographics are using the game and for what purposes. However, that should not be a reason to dismiss potential customers from your local business.
This all may very well be a fade and be gone in a few months, but the principal of embracing location targeting game should stick with all local businesses. Firstly, you should always be checking on new apps and games being played on smart phones and secondly, this location game is going to be only the first of many to come – now is the time to start thinking about how to drive more traffic with these location-based games.