8 ideas for retail businesses to increase footfall off the Pokémon Go craze

By Julian Chow

None of these involve placing Lures.

So the flavour of the month (some would argue and say the year) has finally come to the shores of Southeast Asia – launching last Saturday in Singapore and Malaysia, with the promise of more countries to come. And how the public have taken to the game, with multiple sightings of people congregating near PokéStops flooding social media everywhere.

At the same time, tons of businesses, from telco operators to malls, have taken to buying Lures to increase footfall to their retail outlets in the hope of increasing conversions as customers walk in. But beyond just buying Lures (which is by now standard protocol), I figure that there are some other tactical activations which businesses can use to drive footfall to their shop fronts:

1. Provide charging points
One of the major grouses of Pokémon Go so far is that it drains battery at a tremendous rate. While people have taken to bringing power banks around, there’s nothing like the assurance of charging your phone at a wall socket. But to keep your customers in the store while waiting for their phones to charge, use a splitter cable, or a multi-plug, so that their phones charge slower. This will hopefully increase conversions for your business – especially if you’re a café.

2. Have creative installations for use with Augmented Reality
Another fun thing that I’ve noticed Pokémon Go players doing on social media is to take screenshots of the Pokémon superimposed on real-world settings. For players who are more about the fun rather than the competitive element of the game, having some nice installations (they don’t have to be big!) in your retail business which look really nice when superimposed on Pokémon can be a draw to bring in some casual players looking for a break. You can even run a creative photo contest to provide more incentive to customers.

3. Pop-up stores
What do you do if your business isn’t within the radius of a PokéStop or Gym? Bring your business to these crowded areas, of course! If you’re a café, pop-up stores providing refreshments would be an ideal accompaniment to those tiring, hours-long hunt for that elusive perfect Pokémon.

4. Sponsor a Pokémon Go hunt/walk
If you have the budget and time, sponsor a Pokéwalk! This allows you to strategically bring potential customers to your premises or pop-up store (reference tactic #3 earlier) without looking like you’re trying too hard to draw people in.

5. Real-time Pokémon Go updates
One of the big draws in the game is the chance to catch rare Pokémon. Use your social accounts to provide real-time updates to your followers or the public when rare Pokémon are spotted near your outlet. You’ll have to always be on the app, of course, as the type of Pokémon which spawn change quite frequently. Just make sure you don’t ignore the running of your business whilst doing this!

6. Pokémon of the day discount
One kind of promotion which might garner traction is to offer discounts based on customers who can show you a certain Pokémon in their Pokédex. Choose one Pokémon a day and cycle through the more common ones to get people coming in for discounts.

7. Sell or give away sponsored team memorabilia
Those people who are really hardcore Pokémon Go players identify strongly with their team. If your business is willing to give away Pokémon Go team memorabilia with every purchase in your store, then you might get those hardcore players coming in just to check your store out. T-shirts are especially popular but they cost a bomb to produce. Another option to consider would be those cheap, branded powerbanks!

8. Visa or Mastercard gift cards
Real money can be used to purchase precious in-game items such as Incubators, Incense, Lucky Eggs, and Lures. While players are more often than not willing to spend their own money to purchase these items, you could give out Visa or Mastercard gift cards that allow players to spend even more on Pokémon Go. A referral method is probably the best, with a promotion along the lines of “Bring in a friend and get a free gift card of a certain amount.”

These are just a few tactical ideas for retail businesses looking to capitalise on Pokémon Go. I’m excited to see what businesses come up with as time goes on, as there are sure to be some genius ideas!

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