by Dan Rafter
Smart retailers take advantage of hot trends. Just look at the way some are having, and boosting their foot traffic, with the Pokemon Go mobile game.
If you don’t know what Pokemon Go is, here’s a crash course: It’s an app that you can download to your phone based on the popular trading-card game and cartoon. In the game and cartoon, your goal is to collect creatures called Pokemon. The app lets you walk through your town and find Pokemon hiding in the wild.
The game qualifies as a legitimate craze. Just look around the parks and sidewalks of your community. The odds are high that you’ll find kids, and adults, staring down at their phones on the hunt for Pokemon.
The game also allows users to tag certain locations in their hometowns as Pokemon gyms. What happens next can actually be a benefit to business owners.
Consider what the Blue Goose supermarket in the Chicago suburb of St. Charles, Illinois, has done. The store, which has been tagged as a Pokemon gym, has declared itself a “Pokemon Go Friendly Zone.” The supermarket has placed signs around the shop advertising this fact. At noon each day, the store gives away two free doughnuts to every Pokemon Go player who visits the shop’s bakery.
Why do this? Pokemon Go players aren’t all kids. Many are in their late teens and mid-20s. Others are in the 30s and 40s. When they gather around the Blue Goose, the odds are good that they’ll stop in to make a purchase or two.
National video game retailer GameSpot is taking advantage, too, of the press that comes with being named Pokemon Go gyms. The retailer is now releasing what are known as lures in their stores, items that are designed to attract wild Pokemon. GameStop is inviting users to come into their stores to play the game. If these players should happen to buy a video game or phone accessory while there? That’s a nice bonus.
According to a story in Supermarket News, national supermarket chains Martin’s Super Markets, Rouses and Stew Leonard’s are advertising when their locations become Pokestops, locations players can visit to find the virtual objects and gear that increase their odds of finding Pokemon.
It will soon be easier for businesses to capitalize on Pokemon Go. The developer of the game, Niantic, has plans to partner with businesses to offer sponsored locations in the game. These locations will pay a fee to Niantic to become Pokestops. This has already happened with a similar game that Niantic has created, Ingress. Companies such as Zipcar paid to become important locations in that game as a way to increase their foot traffic.