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How to Use Pokémon Go to Drive Business

Kevin Zhang

Head of Product at Fundera
Kevin focuses on product management at Fundera, including product planning, user research, visual & experience design, and partner integrations. His goal is to help Fundera create a service that's easy, fast, empowering and honest for business owners in search of financing.

Latest posts by Kevin Zhang (see all)

It’s been just 7 days since the launch of Pokémon Go, a game for iPhone and Android devices based on the hit Japanese TV show from the 1990s. In that short span of time, the game has exploded in popularity, beating out Facebook, Snapchat, and other applications for #1 in the App Store, with an estimated 21 million daily active users in the US alone.

Could this new phenomenon benefit your business?

Pokémon Go is a game about exploring the real world: players visit different points of interest to collect items and run into Pokémon—different species of virtual pets—along the way. And these journeys will often include places near your business!

Hordes of fans are walking through their towns, hoping to become Pokémon Masters. By helping them, you could help your business out, too.

Let’s explore 3 ways to do just that.

1. Help Pokémon Masters Recharge Their Phones

In order to play Pokémon Go, players have to keep their applications open while they travel throughout town. With the sound blaring and the screen on, this can be a serious drain on battery. Of course, this is a particularly tough problem when you’re playing a game that requires traveling far away from your home—and your phone charger.

If you have outlets or spare chargers, consider posting a sign that lets passing players know you’re willing to help!

They’ll come in to rest, recharge, and hopefully make a purchase.

2. Offer Prizes and Discounts for Members of Certain Pokémon Teams

Within the game, players need to pick a team, either “Mystic” (Blue), “Instinct” (Yellow), or “Valor” (Red).

But how can you use that to your advantage?

We’ve seen business owners offer a discount to members of one or two of the teams. For example, 10% off a drink for members of Team Blue can sound pretty attractive when you have been walking around in the summer heat for hours.

It’s hard to know which teams are most popular in your area, but try varying the discount over time and see if you draw in more players for a particular color.

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You can also try offering 3 different discounts, one per team!

3. Activate a Lure at a Nearby PokéStop

This idea requires a few dollars of investment and a bit of a longer explanation—but the payoff could be huge.

First, you need to know what a PokéStop is. PokéStops are locations within the game that correspond to real-life landmarks. The player has to actually physically go there in order to get the rewards they want: items and points within the game. PokéStops are scattered on streets and avenues throughout major cities and towns.

At each PokéStop, players can activate a “Lure.” This item makes more Pokémon appear to players nearby. For a player, that means you can make progress while sticking around in one place, instead of having to walk around non-stop.

As for you… You should make that “one place” your business.

Instead of waiting for a random stranger, plenty of business owners purchase and activate Lures for PokéStops close to their businesses, like Pork Slope in Brooklyn, New York.

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You don’t have to play the game at all to take advantage of this—you only have to purchase and use the item. Once you’ve created a Pokémon Go account, it’s an easy 3-step process:

  1. Visit the Store and purchase some Pokécoins. We recommend testing with the 1,200 Pokécoins pack for $9.99.
  2. Purchase Lures. Each Lure is 100 Pokécoins and lasts for 30 minutes. So with the 1,200 Pokécoins pack, you have enough for a 6-hour test.
  3. Tap on a nearby PokéSpot—the blue items on your local street—and look for the white rounded rectangle under the name of the PokéSpot. That should prompt you to activate your Lure module. In some cases, someone else might’ve already activated a Lure… If that’s the case, you’re already good to go!

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Bonus: When a PokéStop has a Lure associated with it, it’ll drop a cascade of pink hearts that you can see from the main map. When users click in, they can see the username of whoever activated the Lure—so if you choose a username that identifies your business, then local players will know who to thank!

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As Pokémon Go keeps growing—along with its community of players—these are just a few ideas that might draw some of those 21 million+ players to your door.

Let us know how these work for you in the comments, and we’ll check back regularly with new ideas!

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Kevin Zhang

Head of Product at Fundera
Kevin focuses on product management at Fundera, including product planning, user research, visual & experience design, and partner integrations. His goal is to help Fundera create a service that's easy, fast, empowering and honest for business owners in search of financing.

Latest posts by Kevin Zhang (see all)

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