I was having lunch in the cafe of the iCon Centre, (the building where our offices are located), when there was a flock of people outside all standing around looking at their phones. I knew instantly that they were playing Pokemon Go, as they were all standing together and not actually talking to each other (but that is another topic altogether!).
Three people came into the cafe and ordered lunch, closely followed by another six who just had coffee. But it dawned on me that Pokemon Go was a great way to attract people to your business, especially for the retail or hospitality industry.
If you have not yet played Pokemon Go then some of the language that I am about to use in my tips below may seem a big like gobbledegook. If you have a local business and you want to use this craze to attract more customers, then the first thing you need to do is “get with it” and go and download the app. It's not for fun, this is for business! You need to be able to talk to your customers about this new game and engage with them. You can't do that if you do not understand the lingo.
Pokemon Go Lingo
Thanks to Toms Guide for this lingo cheat sheet)
Candy: Pokemon-specific items necessary to evolve your monster. For example, Charmander candy is necessary to evolve Charmander and any of his evolved forms.
CP: CP stands for combat points, which determine the strength of your Pokémon. You can raise your character's CP using Candy and Stardust.
Gyms: Where Pokémon battles take place. Signified on the in-game map via large towers withPokémon atop of them.
Incense: Special item that attracts Pokémon to your location for a limited time.
Incubator: Item that allows you to incubate Eggs. You can hatch an incubating Egg after walking a set distance.
Lures: Lures are special Pokéstops that lots of Pokémon flock to for a limited time. You can create a Lure by dropping a Lure Module, which can be purchased in the in-game store.
Pokéstop: Special landmarks that yield rewards, including XP, Pokéballs and potions.
Pokécoins: In-game currency that can be bought or earned through battles.
Stardust: Special item needed for powering up Pokémon. Can be earned via catching Pokémon and by having Pokémon stored in gyms.
Now that you know the lingo, I will share with you four tips to use this technology to gain more customers.
Tip #1 – Drop Lures to attract customers
As mentioned above, Lures are special Pokéstops that lots of Pokémon flock to for a limited time. You can create a Lure by dropping a Lure Module, which can be purchased in the in-game store. Don't worry, they are not expensive (usually less than $1 each) and it is easy to do. A lure is a bit like wearing a bright fluorescent jacket in the hight of summer and all the flies are attracted to you. If you drop a lure, then this releases Pokemons for a certain length of time, and I guarantee that you will attract more customers instantly by doing this.
Tip #2 – Offer discounts to Teams on certain days
When you reach level 5 of the game (which is relatively new into the game), you get to pick a team. These teams are either Instinct (yellow), Mystic (blue), or Valor (red). Team rivalry is funny to watch as they battle amongst each other at Pokemon Gyms. I have started seeing special offers at cafes and bars, or even gyms where the owners are offering a discount for the Yellow team every Monday, and a discount for Blue team players on a Thursday etc. All you need to do is ask for proof of team before giving the discount.
Tip #3 – Host a Gym Battle
This one is only useful if your business is at or by a Gym (luckily we have a gym at the iCon Centre, so this would work well for us). A gym is a little bit like becoming major of the town, but you have to win a battle to get this award.
If you happen to be in this lucky position, then I would strongly suggest running a social media campaign to promote the fact that you are host of a gym. Tell everyone in as many ways as you can. Add a poster to your window, even add it in your email signature. Perhaps change your Facebook cover photo to include a message saing that you are hosting a gym. Tell people and they will come (and spend money!).
Encourage your current customers to get involved, or get your staff together to establish your own team’s dominance, and invite challengers as a fun way to draw people in. There is nothing like a bit of friendly competition, and you have the power to give them what they want – what are you waiting for?
Tip #4 – Offer a SmartPhone Charging Station
I have not seen this yet, but I personally think it is a great idea. The one thing that is very annoying about playing Pokemon Go is that it runs your battery down very quickly. If you offer a “smartphone charging station” then people will need to hang around for their phones to be recharged, meanwhile, they are grabbing another cup of coffee, and perhaps a slice Bakewell tart! Simple, but effective to increase your sales. Word of mouth will soon spread.
Have you had any Pokemon Go experiences?
What do you think to this latest craze? Are you keen or do you feel that it is just a fad and will soon loose its appeal? Do you think it is good to see kids out and about, or can you see the real dangers in this? I personally think that there are pros and cons, but whatever you decide it can be a very good way to lure new customers to your business.