How Smart Local Business Owners are Cashing-In on Pokémon Go & How You Can Too!

If you have been online in any sort of way over the past week you would have seen that the world has gone Pokémon crazy!

Perhaps you have not seen the pandemonium online, but have noticed people congregating at various locations around your town or city glued to their phones.

Whatever your current level of awareness it when it comes to Pokémon Go, if you are a local business owner, it’s time to get on-board and take note! According to Inc Magazine “The speed at which Pokémon Go has spread is unprecedented. Less than a week after launch, this augmented reality mobile exploration game has been installed on twice as many phones as Tinder, it has double the engagement of Snapchat, and it is eclipsing Twitter in its percentage of daily active users.”

What is Pokémon Go?

So, you may still be wondering “What is Pokémon Go”?

Pokémon Go is a new game for smartphones. It features the original Pokémon characters that many millennials grew up knowing and loving, meaning it has a very broad appeal.

To start off with Pokémon Go was only released in the USA, Australia, and New Zealand. It was planned that the game would launch worldwide, but the sheer volume of users signing up on launch day crippled the game’s servers. The game is now available in most countries.

In terms of the game itself, players have to leave the house and move around with their smartphone to progress. As players move around in the “real world” they will encounter Pokémon which they can catch in a similar way to the original GameBoy games with the added functionality of augmented reality using their smartphone’s camera and display.

There are two types of “locations” in the game which players need to visit. PokéStops and Gyms. These virtual locations are tied to real-world locations. These locations will be popular places that people congregate or landmarks in your town or city. Statues, railway stations, bars, etc.

The Opportunity

When it comes to local business, footfall is crucial. With so many people getting off of their couches and exploring their towns and cities with Pokémon Go this is a great opportunity. If you can lure Pokémon trainers (more on that soon) into your business whilst playing the game, you can get them to spend money at the same time!

Check if Your Business is a PokéStop or Gym

The first thing you need to do is check if your business is a PokéStop or Gym. This is like the holy grail for a local business.

The best way to check is to download the game onto your smartphone and get an account (it’s free).

Once you have installed the game and logged in you will see a map of your current location. The little blue beacons are PokéStops and the much larger structures with spotlights around them are gyms.

Check to see if your business is a PokéStop or a Gym. If yes, GREAT! You are lucky and I am jealous. If not, take note of your nearest PokéStops and Gyms. You are bound to have one nearby and you can still absolutely take advantage of this.

Here are some possible strategies for cashing in on the Pokémon Go madness:

PokéStope Lure Module

If your business is a PokéStop or you are within reach of a PokéStop, there is a surefire way to get people to come to your area. The key here is Lure Modules.

Lure Modules are items that can be used on a PokéStop and attract many more Pokémon to the general area. Each Lure Module lasts 30min.

You can obtain Lure Modules for free by using the game, but it’s actually possible to buy them immediately as an in-app purchase.

If you buy in bulk, these Lure Modules are cents each! Would you be willing to pay a few dollars per day to have people flooding to your business? Sure you would!

There have been many reports from restaurants and coffee shops who have activated a Lure Module on their local PokéStop and seen crowds of people coming in to order food & drink whilst catching Pokémon on their smartphones!

This is a genius and very inexpensive way to bring new customers in!

To activate a Lure Module on your local PokéStop simply:

  • Login to Pokémon Go
  • Tap the Pokéball at the bottom of your screen
  • Tap “Shop”
  • Scroll down and select the Lure Module/s to purchase
  • Make the purchase via your App Store
  • Once you are back on the main screen, tap the Pokéball and this time, “Items”
  • Tap the Lure Module to activate!

Gym Team Discount

If your business is near a gym, why not put a sandwich board outside your business announcing which team is currently in control of the gym (there are 3 different colour teams; Red, Yellow, and Blue). Part of the game is that the different teams compete to take ownership of gyms.

You could offer a discount on your sandwich board for anyone in the team that currently controls the gym. You can then just change the board each time control of the gym changes hands

Pokémon Trainer Giveaways

Doing some kind of giveaway could be a great way to get Pokémon trainers into your location. For example:

  • Have some cool Pokémon Gym badges made with your business name on
  • Give something free with each transaction for people who can prove they currently have a Pokémon in the local gym
  • Have a daily competition and give something away for the first person to catch a certain Pokémon in your area that day

Lure People via Social Media

Participate in the game and post in-game screenshots to your followers on social media. Heck, even ask your customers to send you screenshots. Think about how you can lure people in by showing rare Pokémon that have appeared near your business? Use hashtags like #pokemongo and #pokemon in your posts.

You could even keep a look out for funny memes and photos that you could post that would be relevant to your Pokémon loving customers!

Take Advantage of Pokémon Go Now!

The chances are that you are going to be one of the first businesses in your area taking advantage of Pokémon Go. Given the extremely low barrier-to-entry, what do you have to lose?

Have a go and let me know how you get on!

Questions? Ideas? Tweet me!


This article was originally written for a client & reposted on Medium with permission.