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Making Pokémon GO for small business a success

Wondering how your small business can capitalize on the Pokémon GO trend? Some businesses have already embraced the popular augmented reality smartphone game, and are seeing big impacts on their bottom line.

Pokémon GO is the most popular game for mobile devices in history. According to SimilarWeb, which has been tracking the exponential growth of the app since its release, almost 11 percent of all Android devices in the United States had installed the app by July 11. The website also confirmed that the app has as many — if not more — daily active users than Twitter.

The game creates a steady stream of foot traffic right outside your business. Especially for those who are near a Pokéstop or Pokégym – it seems like a small business owner’s dream.  All you have to do is figure out how to harness this potential customer base.

Here are three ways small businesses owners are taking advantage of the Pokémon GO craze:

Take a laidback approach

You could take the laidback approach, although you’re probably aware by now that the more effort you put into your promoting your business, the better the outcome typically is. Some ideas other businesses are using include:

  • Offering a discount for customers who drop lures to catch Pokémon
  • Offering specialty drinks based on each Pokémon team (Team Mystic, Team Valor and Team Instinct)
  • Advertising your location in connection with a nearby Pokéstop or Pokégym
  • Small gift certificates or a free item for anyone who catches a Pokémon inside

Requesting a new Pokéstop or Pokégym

Many of the businesses who are seeing the biggest impact from Pokémon GO are those who had the good fortune to be near a Pokéstop or Pokégym. While the initial locations were established based on a previous AR game, new stops and gyms will be added regularly.

You can request a new Pokéstop or Pokégym outside your place of business on the Niantic Labs website using their request form. You’ll just need to enter some basic information about your business, a name for the stop, your address and why you’d like to add the stop. Developers have not outlined the requirements for adding a stop or gym, so it can’t hurt to try.

Right now, no fees have been announced for making your business a  Pokéstop or Pokégym. However, this may become an option if Niantic Labs receives a plethora of requests.

Investing in lure modules

So far, it seems businesses are reaping the biggest rewards by investing in Lure Modules, which bring Pokémon — and the players hunting them — to your location. According to a report from Bloomberg, one restaurant in NYC spent approximately $10 on Lure Modules last weekend. Their food and drink sales spiked by more than 30 percent. Talk about a good ROI!

You can buy Lure Modules using Pokécoins in the app, using real money. A Lure Module costs 100 Pokécoins, or $0.99. An eight pack of Lures costs only 680 Pokécoins, and the discounts continue for those who buy in bulk. Pokécoins come in packs of up to 14,500 for $99.99. Each Lure Module lasts for about half an hour. Here’s a simple list for to set up your account and purchase some lures, we’ll be posting a detailed step-by-step for you later this week!

Buying your Lures:

  1. Make a Pokemon Go account (download and install the app)
  2. On the main screen, press the Pokeball
  3. Tap the Shop icon.
  4. Scroll down to purchase Pokecoins
  5. After purchase, go back into the Shop menu
  6. Scroll down to the Lure Modules tab
  7. Buy those Lures!

Now, to set up a Lure:

  1. Navigate back to the Map
  2. Tap the PokeStop you want to lure players to
  3. Tap the white pill-shaped Lure Module slot, right under the name of the Pokestop
  4. Tap the Lure Module
  5. Did the Lure Module turn pink with petals floating around? That means it’s working!

Looking toward the future

You’ve probably never wanted a Wurmple or a Sneasel  hanging out in your store before,  up until a couple weeks ago they didn’t exist! But it turns out they can bring quite a crowd. By embracing the Pokémon GO universe, you can take advantage of the crowds filling the streets to hunt these virtual creatures. In fact, people are already planning pub crawls around the game, and other social gatherings are sure to follow.

If you do, for some reason, need to remove a Pokéstop, Pokégym or even a Jigglypuff loitering inside your business, you can submit a request on the Niantic Labs website.  

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