Go the Extra Mile with Pokemon Go, ‘Coz You Wanna Give the Very Best

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By Rigor C. Arellano

You’ve probably heard of local businesses, or better yet, seen your favorite store (online or not) with a Pokemon Go-themed (social media) poster or promo by now.

If not and you’re still wondering why, and whether it would be worth it to drive your business into the same direction as they are, then you might want to read on.

Their numbers are rising

The number of smartphone-users-turned-Pokemon-trainers have been steadily rising, nearing Twitter’s daily active users, and fast. This is despite the app being officially launched in just a handful of countries.

Being a geolocation-based app, many people once hiding in their apartments can now be found in abandoned streets searching for pikachus, lapdoses, and charizards all across the wireless-networking enabled lands.

And at some point they’re going to get tired, hungry, thirsty. Or even, at a glaring instance, would suddenly want to multitask having seen that a pair of shoes or jeans they were looking for was in a shop where a PokeStop was.

Which is why, tons of small businesses have also risen to the challenge of serving not only the avid Pokemon trainers’ needs, but going an extra mile to help satisfy them and attract more of the app’s users at the same time.

Luring them in

“I own a pizzeria that’s a Pokestop and I literally did this all day. I had a ton of kids and adults (mostly adults) come in for a slice of pizza and a drink until the lure ran out.”

The statement above is just one of the many success stories from a store owner and Reddit user who used lures in the game to drive more customers their way.

Simply put, lures attract pokemon; the shop that has them invite Pokemon Go users. It’s an in-app purchase. But for just $1.19 an hour, you’ll soon see people walking into your store without so much as a screech or a holler. That’s what lures are for after all: Place it, and wait.

If you happen to be in a location, however, that the Niantic Labs’ universe has luckily chosen to be near a Pokemon Gym or is one, then you won’t even need to pay for any lures to get customers to come.

The magic of Pokémon Gyms

Pokemon Gyms are where players come out and come together to battle each other or to seek rewards. There are three teams — Instinct, Mystic, and Valor — and their members are constantly flocking to Pokemon Gyms to try and take ownership of it.

To join in on the action, some businesses offer free stuff like drinks or shirts for winning teams. Not only do they promote healthy competition and active participation, but also earn a place in the players’ hearts by rooting on and showing their support.

If your business isn’t right in front or is a Pokemon Gym, then by all means: Set up shop now near one.  Coupling your kiosk with a lure also won’t hurt; not to mention a sign that might say, “Free Pokemon.”

To know whether your store is near a Pokemon Gym, you can use Niantic’s game Ingress as a guide. Or, you can submit a request now to be one or be a PokeStop through the Lab’s support page.

And then there’s social media

From encouraging your players to post on Snapchat, to liking a Pokemon Go-related Facebook post from your official page, to simply tweeting about their experience in your store, social media can boost your efforts to both engage with your customers and tap a growing fanbase.

Just be sure to reward their efforts as well like giving them discount coupons or by featuring the post with the most likes and handing them a nice treat the next time they come by your store.

(For more ideas on how others are using social media with Pokemon Go players in mind, see here.)

Looking ahead

With all the success it has done for other businesses, does it mean that you should go Pokemon Go-crazy on all your future promos and other sales ideas? Probably not, especially considering that the direction of the app’s success if still unfolding: On whether it’s going to be a short-time wonder or a well-loved classic. But if it being on the Apple Watch is any indication, then including it in your business promo repertoire may sound good for the long-term. 

But taking a few steps to think of creative ways to not only show your current and potential customers that you care can benefit your business, and yourself as an entrepreneur.

Reality is, despite some Pokemon fans having long outgrown playing the Nintendo game, they still came back when one of their favorite childhood games was now available on their smartphone. And all because some people went the extra mile to make it possible, and gave awesome reasons to keep them coming back for more.

Who knows? They might do the same for your store. Ask any Pokemon Go fan. The extra steps are worth it.