Unless you've gone off the grid for the past few weeks, you’ve already heard about Pokémon Go...and likely witnessed crowds of people walking around staring at their phones, excitedly chasing Pikachu and Charmander across the countryside. With the game now available in more than 31 countries, including the U.S., Canada, much of Europe and now Japan, Pokémon Go has quickly doubled the value of Nintendo's business. But Nintendo isn't the only company cashing in on the phenomenon: Small businesses are boosting their sales by creating fun Pokémon Go activities to lure new customers and keep them coming back for more.
To understand how, you need to understand the fundamentals of Pokémon Go gameplay:
While the game is played via mobile device, it interacts directly with the real world—meaning players need to get out of the house and engage. Participants hunt for creatures along the way, stopping at "Pokéstops" and "Gyms" to collect items and challenge other players. While the game determines where Pokéstops and Gyms are located, businesses can draw players in by dropping a "lure" at their location. At just $2 an hour, lures turn locations into beacons, attracting both Pokémon and players to the area, as well as making it light up on the map.
Pike Brewing Creates a Fun Atmosphere with Pokémon Go
As one of Seattle's oldest microbreweries, Pike Brewing has been an icon of all things malty since 1989. Owners Charles and Rose Ann Finkel began what was then known as Pike Place Brewery after traveling and falling in love with the many beers of Europe—ales in England, fruit beers in Belgium, and pils, dunkels and dopplebocks in Bavaria. The original Pike brewery was considered one of the country’s smallest but still boasted the tallest smokestack. Today, Pike Brewing brews all its craft suds in a large 30-barrel brew house in downtown Seattle, close to the famous Pike Place Market.
Pokémon are plentiful in highly trafficked areas, and Pike Brewing is in perfect position to benefit. Zan, a Pike Brewing staffer, tells us that inside Pike Pub, they've noticed an increase in casual conversations among customers playing Pokémon Go.
A photo posted by Kelly Tachiki Manning (@kellymanning22) on
But it's not just customers that are getting into the fun. Pike Brewing staffers have also begun a friendly competition to see who can capture the best Pokémon pic in the pub.
FotoSnap Lures Customers with Pokémon Go
FotoSnap is an on-demand photo shoot. Need corporate headshots? Engagement photos? No problem—FotoSnap has you covered. Based in Portland, FotoSnap connects people with photographers in order to snap that perfect pic. Because both Fotosnap and Pokéstops help gather people together in a pop-up kind of way, owner Ann Sanderson tells us that using Pokémon Go to help market her business seemed like a natural fit. And since Ann herself has been playing the game, she's been able to share her knowledge to help clients understand how they can take advantage of the game, too.
Because FotoSnap isn't a brick and mortar operation, Ann had to get little more creative about how to interact with the game. For FotoSnap, Ann created a Pokémon Go account with the screen name “FotoSnap." This way, players see the FotoSnap name whenever Ann sets a lure or takes over a Pokémon Gym. Since setting lures costs money, players appreciate the gesture—and the increased chance to catch new critters.
The great thing about this game is that players are so open and willing to interact. When Ann tells players that her company sponsored the lures, it immediately creates a positive interaction. Then, Ann gives players a flyer and tells them to follow @FotoSnap.co on Twitter for more updates and events. This helps Ann create more opportunities to introduce her business to a larger audience.
What To Remember When Using Pokémon Go for Your Business
Within a week of Pokémon Go launching in the U.S., it had more daily users than Facebook—and it’s not just kids that are playing. The audience base is large already, and it will only continue to grow. Currently, no one can predict when the Pokémon Go craze will end, but for just a few dollars, it's a fun opportunity to create a non-commercial relationship with potential customers.