Your small business can benefit from the Pokémania

Guy taking a picture of the mountains with his phone

Pokémon™ is back.

If you remember the late 1990s to early 2000s, Pokémon was all the rage among kids. From handheld video games to trading cards and an animated television show, the brand was virtually everywhere. While it technically didn't go anywhere, Pokemon fell toward the rear of the pop culture world as the years passed.

That all changed in early July when "Pokémon Go™" was released for smartphones on iOS and Android in the U.S. Within a matter of hours, the game was downloaded millions of times and since then, SurveyMonkey stated the game is now the most popular mobile game in history [1].

As a small business owner, you might have noticed groups of people hovering around your store staring at their smartphone and sharing laughs of excitement. There's a good reason for this, and you can even capitalize on the new Pokémon craze to boost your business.

What is Pokémon Go?

"Pokémon Go" is a game specifically built for smartphones. It's classified as augmented reality because of how it works and how players interact with the environment. Essentially, the game uses your smartphone's GPS, orientation and camera to display a map of the area. As you walk, Pokemon pop up, and you can then catch and collect them.

Scattered throughout an area are what are known as Pokéstops and gyms. Pokéstops are where individuals can visit to collect necessary items and goodies, while gym battles act as the social component that allows people to battle each other. Whoever wins gets to claim the gym and the process repeats.

The game has exploded in popularity because in many ways, it was released into a perfect storm. First, the game is free to play, meaning you don't have to pay anything in order to enjoy it. Combine that with a summer release, and many teenagers and young adults have a lot of free time to play around with the app.

But as the Miami Herald highlighted, the game has struck a particular chord with millennials, many of whom were kids growing up at the height of Pokémania [2]. The game has evoked strong nostalgia and across the country, college students and young professionals have Pokemon on their mind.

woman sitting on a bench looking at her cell phone
Pokémon Go is the newest pop culture craze.

How your business is affected

Pokéstops and gyms may seem random, but upon closer examination, they tend to be landmarks and businesses throughout a city or town. Chances are high that if you own a business, your building is either a Pokéstop or gym location.

If this is the case, utilize some unique business approaches to capitalize on the game's popularity and the fact you have many individuals or large groups in the vicinity. Even if your business is not a destination within the game, you can still capitalize on players passing by offering them deals and more.

Unique marketing techniques

As highlighted by PC Magazine, restaurants, bars, coffee shops and more are finding scores of players hanging out at their establishments [3]. The game allows players to set up lures, which will attract other nearby players hoping to catch better Pokémon.

If you own a restaurant, consider downloading the game and spending some money – around $10 – to set up lures. Bloomberg noted how one pizzeria experienced an approximate 30 percent jump in food and drink sales over typical weekends [4].

In a way, the game has helped residents experience brick and mortar locations they might not have normally visited. In the world of smartphones, this location-based advertising can be valuable if you embrace the concept correctly.

Handing out free water will earn you high praises as the summer heat continues. You might even consider offering discounts on food and other products to players. Advertise a promotion and have customers show you a Pokémon and they can get a 10 percent discount on their purchase. One coffee shop in San Francisco will enable a lure for every 15 drinks purchased, Time Money highlighted [5].

"You might even consider offering discounts on food and other products to players."

Sidewalk chalkboards and signs represent a great visual advertisement that your business is a place to play the game and enjoy food, drinks and more.

Set limits

However, you'll still have to set certain limits. For instance, staff must make sure players don't wander to employee only areas. Furthermore, you don't exactly want crowds of players standing around and potentially disturbing other customers.

Another area of concern might be players stopping in to utilize outlets and charge their devices. You may want to think about buying accessories that allow multiple devices to charge at once, but tell players they have to make a purchase in order to boost their battery.

But the good news is you can get as creative as you see fit when trying to appeal to "Pokémon Go" players.

It doesn't seem like the game will be going away anytime soon, and it may be in your best interest to find a unique way to advertise and draw in business from players.

[1]. Pokémon GO is now the biggest mobile game in U.S. history

[2]. For millennials, Pokémon Go is a childhood dream come true

[3]. Pokémon Go: How the Pokéconomy Is Changing Business, One Lure at a Time

[4]. Pokémon Go Brings Real Money to Random Bars and Pizzerias

[5]. Pokémon Go Is Good Business for Small Businesses

The information provided in these articles is intended for informational purposes only. It is not to be construed as the opinion of Central Bancompany, Inc., and/or its affiliates and does not imply endorsement or support of any of the mentioned information, products, services, or providers. All information presented is without any representation, guaranty, or warranty regarding the accuracy, relevance, or completeness of the information.