Over the last several weeks, the augmented reality smartphone game Pokémon Go has become all the rage. If you’ve seen people, especially teens and twenty-somethings looking at their phone while walking around in a public place, there’s a pretty good chance they might be playing Pokémon Go.
But how does Pokémon Go relate to business? And why should business owners care about Pokémon?
Pokémon Go: A business tool?
Sam’s Club might have been one early adopter for ways to implement Pokémon Go into a business marketing strategy. Now through July 31, anybody with Pokémon Go installed on their phone can get free entry to Sam’s Club and receive a free chocolate chip cookie, and a bar in Harrisonburg, V.A, was offering 10% off to players on a specific team.
It’s certainly helpful for businesses to offer promotions to increase foot traffic to their stores. But what are some other ways businesses can use Pokémon Go?
Some companies are requesting “Pokéstops” or “gyms” be placed in or near their businesses to attract customers, and others are paying for “lures” within the app which increase the rate of Pokémon where they’re placed, much like offering treats to real-life animals to get them to come near.
Larger companies such as McDonalds already have plans to have sponsored Pokemon Go locations built into the app.
Last Friday, Pokémon Go was launched in Japan, and most of Japan’s McDonald’s locations are to become sponsored game locations within the app. But a spokeman for the company said he doesn’t want it to become an annoyance to other customers.
“Ultimately, McDonald’s is a restaurant,” a McDonald’s Holdings Co Japan Ltd spokesman told Reuters. “We will call on players not to become a bother to customers who are eating.”
How to request a PokéStop or Gym
If you want to request a PokéStop or Gym so more people will visit your business, first download the app and look to see if there is already a PokéStop near you.
Though there is no official map that shows all the locations yet, an alternative is to use the Ingress map, another game developed by the same company that developed Pokémon Go. According to Inc. Magazine, the map matches Pokémon Go’s PokeStops and Gyms almost identically. Once you install the Ingress app and sign in, you can check the map here.
If there’s no PokeStops or Gym near you and you’d like to request one, you can do so here. One caution though on Gyms: you can’t use place Lures in a gym!
How to purchase a Pokémon Go Lure Module
There’s definitely good reason, especially if you have a business such as a restaurant, coffee shop or bar to purchase Pokémon Go Lure Modules.
“We did this last night (college town), and within minutes of dropping the lure, 30 people walked in. Hoooly s#&@.”
“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.”
If you purchase $100 worth of Pokecoins, you can get 21 eight-packs of Lures. This equates to about $1.19 per hour for a Lure.
Here’s how to purchase a Lure Module:
- Tap the red Pokeball at the bottom of your HUD.
- Tap “shop”.
- Scroll down and tap the purple, box-shaped to select Lures to purchase. You’ll then re-direct to your app store’s payment system.
- Go back to the app, tap the red Pokeball again, then tap “items”.
- Tap the purple Lure to activate it.
How to get a sponsored location
Of course, if you want to play with the big dogs and get a sponsored location, Niantic’s website says to email firstname.lastname@example.org for business inquiries.
But, be prepared to wait a bit for responses from Niantic. Speaking about the popularity of Pokémon Go, John Hanke, Niantic’s CEO told the New York Times, “We expected it to be popular, but we didn’t expect it to be like this,” he said. “We’re just getting our feet underneath us.”