Pokémon Go Opens a New Door to Digital Marketing
POSTED : August 5, 2016
BY : David Rosenstock

Retailers have been trying to leverage digital marketing to boost foot traffic for years. They’ve had some success with social media and the like, but Pokémon Go just made their dreams come true. Augmented reality games like Pokémon Go will allow businesses to purchase space and Pokémon-like objects in augmented realities that will attract users to their stores. A New York pizzeria manager told the New York Post that he paid a mere $10 to have a dozen Pokémon in his pizza shop, and it yielded a shocking 75% jump in revenue. Don’t let your multimillion-dollar digital marketing program get crushed by your local pizza shop.

How it works

Four weeks ago, Game Boy-loving 90s kids were enveloped in a deep sense of nostalgia when Niantic released Pokémon Go. The twenty-first-century edition of the classic Pokémon story takes on a new frontier of gaming: augmented reality (AR). AR is a live view of the world around you in which your reality is painted over with a digital world. When looking at Pokémon Go, you will notice all the streets around you are mapped the same way they are in real life. But instead of your favorite coffee shop on the corner, there is a Poké Gym waiting for you to battle others. You must enter the actual coffee shop in order to battle other players in the Poké Gym. This is a huge opportunity for retailers, restaurants, and businesses alike.

Engaging your new customers

Getting customers in the door is only half the battle. Once a Pokémon user is in your store, you must find a way to move their eyes from their screens to your products. It would be awfully difficult for customers to buy an article of clothing while building their Pokémon arsenals. Engagement can be achieved in many ways, but it is paramount that the customer is interrupted. Give them a personal, individualized reason to get distracted from their game so your sales representatives can take over. However, you should take caution when getting between customers and their Pokémon. Most people who play are fully immersed in the game, and distracting them will likely cause frustration. Be subtle in your efforts to engage with the new customers by using signs and a personal greeting when the customers come in the store.

Retaining Pokémon Go players

After Pokémon Go users come to your store (and hopefully spend money), what are you going to do to retain them? Businesses that use Groupon often don’t have a very robust answer to this question. They spend a lot of money getting customers in the door with great deals but don’t do anything to get customers to return when they don’t have a Groupon. The same can happen to businesses who try to leverage Pokémon Go – customers come for the Pokémon, leave when they’re done, and forgot they were ever in your store. Don’t fall into the same trap – make sure you have a retention strategy so customers will keep coming back when all the Pokémon are gone. Be the store that rewards Pokémon Go activity when others won’t allow it.

There is clearly an abundance of opportunities for marketers to leverage AR. The key to doing so is preparation. Be prepared with an engagement strategy and a retention strategy before you spend a dollar on Pokémon Go. But remember that trends like this one come and go, and soon there will be a new platform that marketers can leverage to generate revenue. Make sure you’re ready to reallocate your digital marketing budget when your customers start using the next best thing.

Learn more about how Pokémon Go has transformed AR for retailers.

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