4 Ways to Boost Business with Pokemon Go



If you’ve been on the internet or taken a look around outside within the last week, chances are you’ve heard about Pokemon Go. Within weeks of launching, this augmented reality game, in which players catch animated characters through a smartphone app, had as many users as Twitter and was raking in as much as $1.6 million per day on iOS devices alone, according to some estimates. But in an as-yet ad- and sponsorship-free game environment, how can businesses turn this game’s massive popularity to their advantage? One shelter has already harnessed the players’ manpower, inviting them to come take a shelter pet out with them for a little exercise and socializing on their next search, getting a great response from its community and netting some positive publicity. With a little creativity, pet specialty retailers can also incorporate elements of Pokemon Go into their marketing and merchandising to grow their customer base and boost sales.


  1. Does anyone on your staff have the game, or at least a working knowledge of it? If not, it’s worth trying it out, at least to see where your store sits in this virtual universe. If you’re near a PokeStop or gym, you’re in luck—more Pokemon appear in these areas and players frequent them for prizes and to battle, so there’s a good chance of increased foot traffic as people hunt down Pidgeys and pick up PokeBalls. Try employing some Pokemon-themed signage, like one secondhand clothing store did, outside your storefront to grab their attention. 

  2. Plenty of owners are bringing their pets along on their Pokemon searches, with some doubling or tripling their usual walk lengths as they seek out more of the 142 Pokemon available in the US. Especially as we enter the hottest time of the year and some parts of the country are enduring heat wave conditions, make sure customers are outfitted for safe and comfortable walks with the right collars, leashes, portable water bowls and bottles and boots to protect dogs’ paws from scorching pavement. A hands-free leash might also be a good suggestion, seeing as at least one hand will be glued to the walker’s smartphone at all times.

  3. There are three teams in the game, which players choose between when they hit a certain level, and there’s already a healthy amount of playfully intense competition between the three. Consider color-blocking walking accessories and products into red, blue and yellow sections with a sign asking customers which team they’re on or suggesting that their dog help them rep their team affiliation with a coordinated collar and leash.  

  4. This game provides a great opportunity to engage your social media followers and get them into the store. Let people know if Pokemon are popping up in your area, or consider trying out a promotion tied to the game. Some business owners are already capitalizing on one of the game’s paid features, called lure modules, which can be purchased and dropped on a PokeStop to attract more Pokemon, and by extension, more players, for a limited time. Retailers could broadcast what time they’ll drop a lure on the nearest PokeStop, and offer a discount on certain purchases to customers who show them what Pokemon they caught thanks to the lure. And don’t forget to employ relevant hashtags, such as #PokemonGO or #gottacatchemall, to maximize your reach.



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