How to turn Pokémon Go into profit for your business

From James Cashion-Lozell, CloudThree

It’s been just over two weeks since the launch of phenomenally popular Pokémon Go app in Australia (on iOS and Android). While the craze has died down, we’re still seeing an uncommon increase in foot traffic in populated areas, town squares, and esplanades. Smart businesses are taking advantage of this traffic by utilising the application to make their businesses stand out.

With the huge uptake of the app and the mass amount of media coverage, most people already know what the application is. For those who don’t; Pokémon Go is an application where users sign up to catch and train a virtual creature known as a Pokémon. The goal is to catch all of the Pokémon and capture local landmarks known as Gyms. As trainers walk around in the real world, their avatar is shown on a map, and users have the opportunity to encounter the creatures or to collect items from other local landmarks called PokéStops.

For most built up areas, businesses will have either a PokéStop or a Gym within a fairly short distance of their location. Businesses close to PokéStops are signing up to the application and for a $1.99 in app purchase, they can add a Lure module to help increase the spawn rate of the digital creatures for half an hour.

These lures do far more than increase the rate of Pokémon though. Users are drawn to these spots like moths to a flame. If the added exposure of additional foot traffic by your business is not beneficial enough, a lot of trainers are using these lures to decide where they stop to freshen up, eat, and rest.

For those businesses closer to a Gym then a PokéStop, while you can’t just drop a lure module, these landmarks attract a whole section of the player base of their own. Players have the opportunity to join one of three teams (Valor, Mystic, or Instinct). Once on a team, their goal is to capture Gyms. This is very much like capture the flag. Trainers put their strongest Pokémon in the Gyms in an effort to remain in control of the Gym, whilst other teams work together to take out the Gym with their own Pokémon.

These battles can be short lived or take hours, depending on the tenacity of the trainers. Businesses close to Gyms are offering a slew of advantages to users, sometimes based on team affiliations (Team Instinct Members get a free upgrade to a large meal), or based on who is in control of the Gym currently.

For those businesses not lucky enough to be near either, it doesn’t mean you’re left out. Pokémon Go users are pretty easy to spot (they’re the ones walking around with their eyes glued to the screen), engage with them when they’re nearby. Ask what they’ve caught in the vicinity. Advertising to trainers that a Dragonite was caught nearby is better than every PokéStop in the game to some users.

Whether it’s been years since you played one of the many games in the franchise, or saw one of the hundreds of episodes in the series, or even if you’re as new to the experience as the rest of the world was when it was brand new in 1998; there are a plethora of business opportunities waiting for savvy marketer only an app download away.