Business development · 18 July 2016

Five ways to jump on the Pokémon GO bandwagon as a small firm owner

Pokémon GO
Pokémon GO is draining users’ batteries and means they be more likely to visit a business offering chargers

Pokémon GO is fast becoming the most important marketing tool available to small business owners. How long it can last is uncertain, but while it does, Business Advice explains how to use it your advantage.

Building on the nostalgia of those millennials who grew up with Pokémon Game Boy games, trading cards and cartoons which were obligatory after-school viewing, new augmented-reality app-based game Pokémon GO is already more popular than Tinder in the US, despite being around for less than a month.

Launched just days ago in the UK, it has already caused a storm – and with a heatwave predicted throughout the UK this week, more players are likely to take to the streets to catch virtual reality characters on their smartphones. Here is what small business owners looking to increase foot traffic to their firms should do after downloading the app and to make the most of it as a marketing tool.

(1) Locate your nearest Pokéstop – and shout about it

Those playing the game will be on the lookout for Pokéstops – locations which are marked on the maps of those playing the game and allow players to pick up snacks and medicines for the Pokémon they have already caught. Though most are attached to places of interest such as churches or memorial plaques, some firm owners have discovered their business location contains a Pokéstop – and rushed to shout about it on social media, to good effect.

(2) Purchase “lure modules”

Small firm leaders in the US have a few weeks on British business owners as the app launched there at the beginning of July. There, entrepreneurs have attracted Pokémon – and customers – by purchasing “lure modules”, in-app purchases that increase the attractiveness of a Pokestop for players and their virtual reality prey. One pizza restaurant in New York City claims to have seen a 30 per cent increase in custom after investing in this strategy.

(3) Advertise your WiFi

Praised for getting people out of the house, Pokémon GO has also been met with Twitter complaints about eating into to users’ data bundles, and while analysis has shown that the app is relatively 3G-friendly, potential customers are still likely to be worried about it. Because of this advertising free WiFi for players is likely to attract new consumers to your business without having a significant impact on speeds for other users.

(4) Invest in some chargers

There is a unanimous consensus that the game is terrible for users’ batteries, with CNET calculating that an hour of the game could wipe almost one-third of a smartphone’s power. So investing in a couple of chargers to plug in by a point of sale could make customers browse, eat or just spend longer getting to know your brand – as well as establishing your small business as a spot on the Pokémon GO map.

(5) Keep an eye out for local sightings.

With some Pokémon easy to find and others already established as rare breeds, business owners large and small have taken to Twitter to showcase the creatures they have found. But make sure you do your homework before sharing an image. Rattata, Caterpie, Pidgey and Doduo are common as muck – but Aerodactyl and Snorelax are like gold-dust.

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Hannah Wilkinson is a reporter for Business Advice. She studied economics and management at Oxford University and prior to joining Business Advice wrote for Kensington and Chelsea Today about business and economics – as well as running a tutoring company.

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