Chances are you’ve heard about Pokémon GO, the new free-to-play app that’s spreading like wildfire among tweens and nostalgic 20-somethings around the world.
Already the most popular augmented reality game ever, Pokémon GO provides players with an alternative version of their city’s map, highlighting nearby “PokéStops” and “Gyms” crawling with Pokémon waiting to be captured. In reality, these special locations are real-life parks, landmarks, and buildings (which in some cases are local businesses), found in player’s neighborhoods.
For small businesses, the game has the potential to be a huge driver of foot traffic. The key is to know how to transform players into potential customers. Here’s how:
1. Find out if your business is a PokéStop or Gym
Unlike other games, Pokémon GO requires players to travel outside the home. Finding out if your business is a designated location is essential, as players will naturally come to collect rewards or battle other players. Although there’s no official listing of all of the locations, fans have found a loophole. If you download the game “Ingress” (created by the same developers as Pokémon GO), you will find a searchable world map listing different “portals” as either PokéStops or Gyms in Pokémon GO.
TIP: After you install Ingress, download the map here (sign-up is required, but it only takes a minute).
2. “Lure” them in
Lures are special items attached to Pokéstops, which attract nearby Pokémon and make them easier to catch. If your business is a PokéStop or you’re close to one, you can purchase (with in-game currency) Lures and attach them to nearby locations. There's a variety of lure modules available, however the cheapest option costs $1 and is active for 30 minutes.
ADDED TIP: Players can see how many Lures are in a given area, and typically are drawn to higher populated areas, since it guarantees easier catches.
3. Advertise the fact you’re using Pokémon GO and offer incentives to “Lure” players in
Whether your business is an official Pokéstop or Gym or happens to be close to one, providing players with a reason to come in is essential. Possible ways to do this include:
- If you’re an official PokéStop, use sandwich boards or sidewalk signs to advertise while also encouraging players to come in and make a purchase, similar to this thrift store’s approach.
- Offer paying players a phone “battery boost,” since the game drains a lot of power. Advertise in your storefront windows that you’re a “PokéStop charger station” and let players know they can charge their device as long as they make a purchase.
- Offer special promotions or discounts for players, asking them to show the Pokémon they’ve collected instead of a coupon.
- If your business has social media channels, take part in the Pokémon GO conversation while also marketing your business. You can advertise on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter about the incentive you’re offering, while also including the hashtag #PokemonGo.
4. Turn on your terminal’s tap-and-pay so players can quickly tap for their purchases
Once you’ve gotten players into your store, chances are they won’t want to stop playing for too long. The sooner you can ring through their purchases, the faster they can continue catching Pokémon or battling other players. By turning on your terminal’s contactless feature, customers can quickly tap their cards or phones, and then get back to playing. Not sure if your terminal accepts contactless? Check out this article to learn more.
5. Can your business be mobile? If so, head to a Pokémon GO hotspot event
Although the game is primarily played solo, Lure-enabled meet-ups at PokéStops are beginning to pop up everywhere. Search “Pokémon GO [insert city]” in Facebook, Twitter or on popular online community groups, such as Reddit, to find a local group in your area. Bring along your Payd Pro Plus and products to create a mini sidewalk sale, and ring through customers on the fly.