Now more popular than Twitter and Tinder, Pokémon GO has Londoners trying to ‘catch ‘em all.’ While some businesses are leveraging the app’s runaway success to attract customers, others are being overwhelmed by unwanted attention and disruptions. Read on to find out everything your business needs to know about this pop culture phenomenon, including the best ways to capitalise on it.
What is Pokémon GO?
Niantic’s new gaming app sends players out into the real world to capture augmented-reality Pokémon. To catch Pokémon, you need PokéBalls, which you can get at PokéStops: specially marked places of interest, like statues, memorials, public art and other community hotspots. No doubt you’ve already seen the crowds of people walking around, noses in their phones, determined to catch a Pikachu or Electabuzz.
How a London restaurant is cashing in on the craze
According to The Londonist, Maxwell’s Bar and Grill in Covent Garden has enjoyed a 26% increase in profit since it began trading as a PokéStop. The restaurant is spending up to £100 a day on in-app purchases that have seen customers flock to the venue. It’s also launched a special Pokémon menu, including Pokémon freak shakes and doughnuts.
— Maxwells Bar & Grill (@maxwellsCG) 22 JULY 2016
How your business can profit from Pokémon GO While gamers are avidly trying to catch Pokémon, you might want to rethink your marketing strategy to catch players’ attention. If your business is lucky enough to be within the range of a PokéStop, or to have one itself, paying a few bucks to stack up Lure Modules for the day is a simple way to attract customers from around the area. Make sure to get the word out on social media, and boost foot traffic by displaying a sign advertising your business’s status as a PokéStop.
Keep in mind that not every business has a stop, and there’s currently no way to add one, so it’s luck of the draw whether or not you’ll be able to profit from your location.
Had an interesting chat at a bar/restaurant sitting between two Pokestops how their business increased by 10% since Pokemon GO came out.
— Sarah Anne Williams (@SarahAnneWillia) 11 July 2016
There are many other ways for businesses to jump on the Pokémon GO bandwagon. You can drive sales by offering discounts to successful gym trainers or people who purchase lures for your business. Even just promoting the game and encouraging gamers to use your WiFi will get people in and active. When Pokémon GO becomes a problem Pokémon GO famously has players travelling all over cities, catching Pokémon in unlikely and even inappropriate locations. Public museums, churches and cemeteries have all raised concerns – just check out this tweet from Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia:
We do not consider playing “Pokemon Go” to be appropriate decorum on the grounds of ANC. We ask all visitors to refrain from such activity. — Arlington Cemetery (@ArlingtonNatl) 12 July 2016
Earlier this month, the app attracted controversy when the Auschwitz museum asked gamers not to use it during visits to the former German death camp because it’s ‘disrespectful.’
How to remove a business as a Pokémon GO Gym or PokéStop
Don’t want players attracted to your business or venue? In Pokémon GO, everything from bus stops to famous landmarks can be part of the game as a Pokémon Gym (where you fight and train Pokémon) or a PokéStop (where you collect free items). The locations aren’t pre-approved, which means many gyms or PokéStops are local businesses or community spaces. If your business or venue is receiving unwanted attention from gamers, head over to the Pokémon GO support page where you can request the removal of a PokéStop or gym. Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee this will solve the problem as an in-game location may still be close enough to attract crowds.
The sky’s the limit
The start of a trend is the best time to capitalise on it, so strike while the iron is hot and invest in a little bit of Pokémarketing. Who knows, it might be your business that catches ‘em all.