5 Ways Retailers Can Capitalize on the PokÉmon Go Craze

In less than two weeks PokÉmon Go has taken the world by storm. As the cultural phenomenon continues to grow in popularity opportunistic retailers are cashing in on the trend to drive traffic to stores, and hopefully increasing sales.

For those unfamiliar PokÉmon Go it is an augmented reality mobile application that requires players to interact with their physical environment to capture and collect PokÉmon characters. Basically players explore their location, with the help of their mobile device's GPS software, searching for characters and items to collect. The game is a huge hit among the younger set and nostalgic Millennials that remember the popular PokÉmon craze of their youth (card game, television show, etc.).

By engaging with this growing player base, hip and innovative retailers can insert themselves into the soaring trend and drive increased foot traffic to their stores.  

Obviously leveraging the PokÉmon craze is not for every retailer. For example, it would be tough to justify implementing a campaign to drive PokÉmon traffic at a high-end fashion retailer, but a convenience store, supermarket or video game retailer might find the additional traffic highly beneficial and profitable.

Here are five low-cost things retailers can do to capitalize on scorching trend.  
  1. Advertise in the App. The developer of the app, Niantic, has yet to announce the release of it advertising platform, but the addition of ads to the popular game is a foregone conclusion. Properly targeted impressions based on location and demographics can be a powerful tool when used correctly.
  2. Sponsor a Game Location. Retailers looking to take their PokÉmon commitment to the next level can sponsor a game location and host some of the action in their brick-and-mortar space. A  PokÉStop is a physical location that players are drawn to thanks to the ability to gain valuable game items and experience points.
  3. Provide Players With Support. The game uses a mobile device's GPS system to operate. By having the GPS function active the device's battery life is greatly depleted. By offering players a place to recharge their phone in-store the retailer can not only build goodwill with the player, but keep them in the store for a longer period — hopefully converting a sale.
  4. Leverage PokÉmon in Marketing Efforts. A simple sign in a retailer's window advertising a promotion to PokÉmon players or even just announcing itself as PokÉmon friendly can draw in weary players tired from their "hunt" down Main Street.
  5. Engage With Players on Social Media. By alerting social followers of game developments such as a rare PokÉmon spotted in or around the store, retailers can further engage potential shoppers and pull them into the store. Simple campaigns like the "First Five PokÉmon Go Players to the Store" will receive a discount/special promotion can also help increase profitable footfall.