By: David Aguirre, Summer 2016 Intern
As Pokémon GO continues to rise in popularity among young adults, businesses are also figuring out How to Catch Them All, but not Pokémon. Instead businesses are using the newest app craze to catch customers.
Pokémon GO is an augmented reality mobile game that has two generations of avid gaming fans flocking outside to parks, monuments, and businesses to catch Pokémon that appear in the real world on their mobile devices. In the game users have the ability to control their avatar by traveling in the real world, to search for new Pokémon, compete at Pokémon gyms, and gain items by visiting local attractions.
Since the game’s release nearly a week ago, the app has been downloaded onto approximately 7.5 million devices, with the average user spending 43 minutes and 23 seconds on the app per day. The recent popularity of the game has attracted local business owners to develop a unique form of Internet e-commerce by using the game to increase foot traffic into brick-and-mortar stores such as boutiques, coffee shops, and restaurants.
Using the app, local businesses are making in-app purchases of PokéCoins that can be used in the game to buy Lure Modules that attract Pokémon to a local PokéStop for 30 minutes at a time, consequently also attracting game users. For example, for only $10 a boutique located near a blue PokéStop can buy 1,200 PokéCoins that can then be used to purchase 12 Lure Modules, at 100 PokéCoins a pop. Those 12 Lure Modules can then be used to increase Pokémon appearances for 6 hours, attracting game users for more than just cute skirts and blouses. L’inizio’s Pizza Bar in Queens, New York boasted a 30% increase in food and drink sales last weekend due to this strategy, according to Bloomberg. Others, such as It’s a Grind Coffee House are promising to drop Lure Modules after sales goals are met, encouraging game users to come in and make a purchase.
However, not all businesses can be lucky enough to be placed near a PokéStop to simply drop a Lure Module. This leaves businesses looking to find other creative ways to use the game to draw consumers in. Symon’s Burger Joint in Austin, Texas is giving away free Queso Fries to anyone who catches a Pokémon in the restaurant, attracting the attention from University of Texas at Austin students. Even the Muncie, Indiana Municipal Animal Shelter is catching Pokémon fever, encouraging citizens to hatch Pokémon eggs and catch rare Pokémon while walking shelter dogs in a post on their Facebook page.
The sheer popularity of Pokémon GO also has businesses eager for massive Pokémon GO meetups planned in major cities nationwide, the first of which is scheduled to happen July 17th at Chicago’s Millennium Park, where nearly 8 thousand people have RSVP’d to the event on Facebook, with an additional 23 thousand marking they are interested in attending. Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo is already planning another Pokémon GO meetup July 23rd to attract guests to catch Pokémon, while looking at the animals that inspired the virtual craze.
So what are you waiting for? Download the app, develop a strategy, and start luring consumers into your business.