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How to Make Pokémon Go Work for Your Small Business

2 minutes Read

Pokemon Go_v3You’ve heard the cries of “gotta catch ‘em all!” and seen the crowds of people fighting their Pokémon in public areas. You’ve read the news stories that for the first time, a game app is getting people out of their houses and encouraging the otherwise couch-inclined to get a little exercise as they capture Pokémon in this augmented reality game. You may have even heard that Pokémon Go is eclipsing Snapchat AND Twitter in number of daily users. Now the question remains: how can you get in on the action?

For brick and mortar stores, this is all great news. More foot traffic in public areas means more customers. But did you know there are ways to draw even more people in? You can employ a few simple strategies to get more customers in your door.


First thing, download the game if you haven’t already. It’s free to download, and you can get a sense of how it works. (You might be surprised at how fun it is, too.) The game releases Pokémon into the world, and you catch them, battle other players in the vicinity, and defend your turf. There are designated Pokéstops where players can gather supplies, and gyms, where Pokémon battle one another. Once you’ve downloaded the game and reviewed how it’s played here, see if your business is at or near a Pokéstop, which are the smaller blue structures on the in-game map. This is where it gets interesting for you.


Once you’ve ascertained that you’re near a Pokéstop, it’s time to drop a lure. A lure is exactly what it sounds like: it increases the number and variety of Pokémon in a given area by “luring” them there. It costs about a dollar an hour, and you can purchase lures in the game. Combined with some social media savvy, it may be just the incentive new customers need to stop in and check your business out. Simply post on your Facebook or Twitter page that you’ll be dropping lures for a specified amount of time, and see if that increases the number of customers that come in. A small, geotargeted Facebook ad buy could also let non-followers know about your alluring plan, allowing you to increase your reach and target prospects. If it makes sense for your business, it may even be worthwhile to incentivize other players to set up a lure while they’re there with a discount or giveaway.


Gyms are the larger structures on the map, set up around public areas like historical markers, parks, and neighborhood centers. This is where players come to battle their Pokémon, and one of the three different teams — Valor, Mystic, or Instinct— can take control of the gyms. If your business is near a gym, people will be coming and playing, no matter what. Take this opportunity to reach out and let players know what team you’re a member of. You may even want to offer a discount to members of your team, or to members of the team that’s currently in control of the gym. You could also make custom signage and offer a discount to anyone playing the game at your establishment. The key is to keep it social, so make sure to use hashtags like #PokémonGo and #Pokémon when getting the word out on Facebook and Twitter.

If your business isn’t near a Pokéstop or gym, you’ll still have Pokémon pop up. Be sure to share photos on social media of any rare Pokémon that show up. And never fear, Niantic, the creator of the game, says they’ll allow sponsored locations for the game in the future. Have you already started using Pokémon to draw in more customers? Head to our Facebook page to share your success story, and you could be featured in a follow-up article!


Photo credit: mimagephotography/