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Is Pokémon Go Good for Small Businesses?

What has a game to do with increasing traffic to your business? A lot apparently.

If you’re older than 30, you may remember a Pokémon craze. They were trading cards back in 1996, containing 102 cards, and became very popular. The game centered on fictional characters called Pokémon which humans, called Pokémon trainers, collect with the help of PokeBalls and train to battle each other.

Two years later, in 1998, the game was played on the Game Boy consul. It was followed by movies and for a long time was all the kids wanted to play.

Although there were at least 10 versions up to 2007, the popularity of the game waned. Bigger, more sophisticated games appeared on the video game market and the name has been forgotten by many of the parents of this generation.

Until about 3 weeks ago, when, in the beginning of July 2016, the company released its mobile app called Pokémon Go.

This version uses your phone’s GPS and map capabilities to create a map of the world in the game that looks like the real world around you. Pokémon characters appear in this “augmented reality” world and you have to grab them, collect as many as you can, and fight with different characters who appear in your vicinity. You collect points and prizes as well.

Augmented reality is a fascinating combination and it caught like wildfire. So much so that the company’s servers crashed a few times because of too many requests.

The makers of the game said they want the people to go outside, into nature, and many of those little yellow creatures appear in public parks and recreation areas. There are some reports of people stepping off a cliff while playing and, engrossed in the game, stepping into traffic. Compared to the amount of people playing the game all over the world, those incidents are few.

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What does it have to do with small business?

Well, since people are walking outside, is there a way to direct them toward your place of business?

There is.

There are 2 hubs in this game: PokeStop and Pokémon Gyms, and any business who is close to those hubs is sure to have much more traffic around them.

PokeStop is a place where Trainers go to get items used in the game.

Pokémon Gyms are where the trainers gather to battle other Pokémon. They are usually located in public spots and recreation areas, like statues, libraries, fountains, train stations etc. Appealing to the company to turn your business to one of those spots is impossible at the moment, but there are reports of businesses near PokeStops seeing an increase in business.

Even Yelp started to display on its site the proximity to Pokémon PokeStop.

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And there are Pokémon Lures.

Setting the Lures requires you to play the game. You’ll need to make at least one in-app purchase ($1.99) of Lure and do some real time marketing on social media on the side when you do that.

This lure you bought, you can put by the PokeStop nearest to you and for the next 30 minutes it will be available to all gamers in the area. A Pizza bar owner in NY paid $10 for lures and the following weekend his business rose by 75%, according to New York Post.

Pokémon Go already made the company a reportedly $7.5 billion worldwide. All this money for a game that is downloaded for free.

You can read more about it here.

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