Pokemon Go has taken augmented reality into the mainstream – and presents terrific opportunities for retailers, especially if they jump on it while the phenomenon is hot.
Unless you are under a rock, you will know about Pokemon Go, the mobile craze that has trainers young and old chasing around real locations in the hunt for virtual pokemon. The joint venture by Nintendo and Niantic, was released a few weeks ago in Australia, US, and UK, has caused Nintendo’s stock to soar, and is a game changer. Augmented reality has long been touted as one of the next big things for retail marketing as the online and offline worlds merge – from gamifying instore experience to online purchasing using virtual reality. Pokemon Go has tipped the usage into the everyday.
How Retailers can use Pokemon Go
As with all new things people can choose how to react to the Pokemon Go phenomenom. As people gather in your store you can turn them away if they are just playing game, or, you can embrace it and take advantage (and this might depend on the type of retailer you are). Apart from the promised future advertising opportunities (see more on that here), there are plenty of ways right now you can leverage Pokemon Go.
1. Purchase the Lure Module
Where the creatures are, the people will follow – so purchase a Lure Module through the app to bring the Pokemon creatures to a Pokestop for 30 minutes – and be ready when the customers follow. If your nearest Pokestop is not right near your store entrance, come up with an awareness strategy near the Pokestop – whatever is allowed – signs, people with signs, etc.
2. Get creative with your marketing
Retailers are riding the Pokemon Go wave with their marketing and pushing it out through social media. Post on facebook to give tips on where to find Pokemon instore, advertise special deals for trainers with twitter, and of course instagram offers a myriad of opportunities as you can take screen captures of pokemon with any of your merchandise.
3. Join the fun
Some retailers have banned trainers because they aren’t there to buy and are disrupting those who are. They are on the hunt and distracted, may not buy, and will chase their pokemon relentlessly. Pokemon Go will drive sales best at retailers who match the demographic of trainers (the people chasing the pokemon) Pokemon merchandise, food, drink or some fun, but all businesses should consider finding ways to embrace the phenomenom. We live in an age of authenticity, and if you can join the fun, and be seen as tolerant and having a sense of humour, if you can’t outright embrace it, it gives a positive impression of the brand. Remember that the teenager chasing down a pokemon in a high-end furniture store, has parents who might be potential customers. That said, feel free to put up polite signs up reminding trainers to be respectful of others, and not to enter restricted areas.
Consider giving away some fun items to trainers – stickers, merchandise or pokemon cards – while they are in store.
4. Sponsored Pokestops
CEO of Niantic Labs, the developer of Pokemon Go, John Hanks, told the Financial Times that a future concept will allow businesses to sponsor locations. This will mean that retailers would be able to buy Pokestops and Pokegyms to lure players to their locations. (At the moment these are located at public sites like parks).
The future of Pokemon Go
Who knows. It’s a craze, but right now its bigger than twitter and tinder, and a great opportunity to give your brand a different angle, and connect with your customers. What is really interesting is that it’s a looking glass into the future of technology – as online and offline worlds merge, the imagination will be the limit for engaging with customers.