In an age where social media dominates the Internet space, a smartphone game has single-handedly taken on the likes of Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat. Launched on 6th July in hte US, Pokemon Go managed to surpass the total user engagement on Facebook and the number of total profiles on Twitter in a single week! As reported by Forbes, according to the latest statistics gathered by 7ParkData, in the first 7 days of its launch, users spent 75 minutes on an average playing Pokemon Go but engaged for only 35 minutes on Facebook. During the same time, daily usage of Snapchat plummeted by about 18% around the world. And all this when the game was only launched in the US officially! Just look at these insane statistics:
It’s legit. Augmented Reality is the next big thing in Tech Town. It will not be surprising now to see an influx of even more innovative games and inception of countless companies in the domain. But before all this happens, Pokemon Go still has a shot to be the biggest entity on the Internet when it officially goes live in Asia in the coming weeks, especially in India.
Businesses around the world have already used the game to increase their sales and revenues. And since there are no official partnership options available yet, it calls for creativity along with a stroke of luck to exploit the massive traffic the game is generating. Pokemon Go can be launched in India (officially) any day now. Businesses should prepare themselves for the release with innovative strategies in place to ensure that they use the opportunity well. Here are some approaches which retailers and restaurant owners can use to prepare for Pokemon Go’s launch in India:
1) Learn All About The Game ASAP
Each day the game is officially hitting a new country, and it is not long before it will be launched on the App stores in India too. For now, Pokemon Go can only be accessed in the country via direct online apk downloads. If you have not installed the game already, here is a detailed guide by Gadget 360 that will help you set it up. This is a pivotal step since it will give you an edge over your competitors and enable you to start exploiting the huge traffic of the game even before it is officially launched. Keep in mind that even a single day of backlog here is enough to turn the tides.
Here are some things you can do to prepare for the game’s release –
- 1. Start playing the game and register your virtual character as the name of your business.
- 2. Understand the game’s basic concept and how it uses Augmented Reality to simulate experiences.
- 3. Learn about the location of PokeStops and PokeGyms in the vicinity, especially the ones that are closest to the site of your business.
- 4. Study about the various available items which can be bought in the virtual shop, and what all they are used for.
- 5. Reach level 5 as soon as possible so that you can unlock the Gym and join a team, one out of Team Mystic, Team Valor or Team Instinct. This will be used later as a part of your marketing campaign.
- 6. Buy a couple of ‘Lures’ to understand how they work. These are items on the shop which can be activated at PokeStops (only) to attract Pokemons to the location for 30 mins.
2) Be Ready To Invest Into In-App Purchases
If you are looking to use the game to genuinely impact your turnovers, do not assume that it can be done without any investment. Though there are some uncontrollable variables involved here. It takes a real stroke of luck for your business to be listed as one of the PokeStops since the algorithm developed by Niantic does that on a random basis. If it is so, you can wait for the game’s release to buy and use Lures on a daily basis to attract players to your location, boosting your business in the process. To devise an effective strategy, let’s look at the graph below:
As you can notice, the engagement of the app peaked on the 8th day of its release in the United States. Assuming the same for India, you can wait for at least 4-5 days before you start increasing the number of Lures you use to get the maximum out of your investment. Even though the game is already being played by millions of people in the country, I expect the total amount of players to grow by at least 3 to 4 times when it is officially available on the app stores. Therefore, this time period would be a sweet spot to attract the maximum amount of customers.
If your business is not a PokeStop, you can do the same at the closest available ones around your business to increase the populace in your location. An ROI analysis can then be done to make sure the money is being spent well.
3) Put Advertisements Around PokeStops And PokeGyms
PokeStops and PokeGyms will always be locations of legitimate player traffic. Therefore, it makes sense to advertise your business at these spots by using posters and hoardings. Some businesses in the US are even going to the lengths of assigning dedicated staff at PokeStops to spread awareness about their activities and promotional offers based on game achievements (refer point 4 for ideas).
4) Put Your Business On The Road
This one is particularly important for restaurants and food chains. The streets are literally where all the action is happening through the game. So an effective strategy here will be to put your business on the road with the help of food-trucks or food-carts to get even more sales. The practice may sound a bit far-fetched to a few but consider two facts here. Firstly, Pokemon Go is boasting insane traffic of more than 21 million daily users, which is growing by the day as the game hits new regions. Secondly, although these statistics are indeed impressive, there is a lot of skepticism about the sustainability of the game’s craze in the long run. Some statistics are even pointing that the downfall may have already begun.
Therefore, the traction of the game may be even shorter lived than we expect it to be. Though it may still rake in stunning profits through in-app purchases, the implications it has on businesses in the real world may fade away eventually. Hence, in accordance with proper cost analysis, anything which increases your sales makes sense at the moment.
Food trucks can be tactically placed in lanes where multiple Pokestops and Gyms exists. An extensive “Poke-Route” can also be devised targeting high Pokemon density areas based on the frequency of PokeStops on the route.
5) Facilitating Smartphone Charging Points And WiFi
One known weakness of the game is the rate at which it drains the battery of the player’s smartphone. This makes it difficult to ‘Catch Them All’ for obvious reasons. Therefore, retailer shops, restaurant owners and cafes can provide mobile charging points in their business premises to increase the overall time the players spend at their locations. On the other hand, the game also eats up a lot of mobile data and therefore, installing high speed WiFi systems will motivate customers to engage more with your business.
6) Organizing Competitions And Promotional Offers
Now this one is crucial. Don’t wait for the game to launch. You need to be innovative right away and start testing the crowd with offers and competitions. Keep in mind that whatever works today, will also work when the game launches, since the number of players are going to increase exponentially. So make this your testing ground immediately.
There are a host of ideas that can be deployed to attract players using banners, posters or hoardings:
- 1. Join a team (Mystic, Valor or Instinct) and start by giving discounts to players of your team that visit your restaurant or cafe. You can even have team meetings where people can get together to formulate strategies to take control of nearby Gyms.
- 2. Research about which rare Pokemons are available in your location, try catching them (chances are that you will since you visit the place everyday) and upload their photos on social media under your business’ name with relevant hashtags.
- 3. Ask players who find Pokemon in the business’ premises to upload them on social media and tag your business in exchange for discounts or goodies.
- 4. If your business is right next to a Gym, organize ‘Gym-Takeover’ competitions and offer a free meal to the player/team who wins.
- 5. Catch a lot of unique Pokemons (at least 25) and run a campaign to offer a 10% discount to anyone who has more Pokemons than you do.
Innovative ideas like these will help players to connect with your business via the game. You can be creative and come up with even more promotional ideas. Whatever ideas you implement, make sure to analyze the ones which are working and wait for the game to be launched to implement them extensively on a large scale.
Word is around that Pokémon Go will also offer businesses to partner with them by introducing sponsored Pokestops and PokeGyms. Speculation about the same started when the game collaborated with McDonald’s in Japan last month to convert 3000 food junctions in the country to Gyms. If the craze continues long enough, this would be the first of many such deals we will see around the world.
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