Retailers have been quick to capitalise on The Pokemon Go craze that is sweeping the nation.
The Pokemon Go app, which launched in the UK yesterday, is a game that enables players to use their smartphone’s GPS location and real-world maps to capture pokemon via augmented reality.
Scott Rothwell, owner of Eaves Lane Londis in Chorley, Lancashire, has been posting images of pokemon figures in his shop in a bid to attract players to the store. “I saw on the news that people in other countries have been going bonkers on it, so I asked around and someone helped me get the app on my phone,” he said. “We’ve already had a few kids in looking for pokemon. They were dragging their parents in and asking for sweets while they were here.
“I’m trying to find a way of making my shop into a Pokemon gym, which will attract more players,” he added. “It could potentially be massive.”
Binny Amin, who owns two stores in Kent, has also been posting images of pokemon in-store on social media. “We’ve had quite a few people coming in to collect pokemon on the back of our Facebook activity,” he said. “We have a pokestop (a virtual collection point for players to pick up gaming items) at the bus stop outside our Blean store and people are coming in and buying drinks and sweets. I think that more and more will come in over the summer holidays.”
“I’m hopeful that it will last for the summer. I think it will be a loom band situation, where it’s really crazy and then it stops overnight. I would say to other retailers do it and do it now.”
Jon Powell of The Kiosk Newsagent in Newport, South Wales
Binny is currently giving away chocolate bars to players who take a photo of a pokemon and post it on his Facebook page. “I thought if I promote it before everyone else, then it’ll get me noticed,” he said. “I’m hoping it will pull people in. It’s too early to tell yet, but it would be a nice bonus if it does. While it’s popular, you have to make the most of it.”
Jon Powell of The Kiosk Newsagent in Newport, South Wales, took things one step further on social media, offering Pokemon players a 25% slush discount if they plant a ‘lure’ at the pokestop by his store. ‘Lures’ draw more pokemon to the pokestop for a 30-minute period, therefore pulling more players to the area.
“I paid a tenner to advertise my post on Facebook. It was shown to 9,000 and more than 1,000 have clicked on it, which is much more interest than an advertised post would normally receive,” he said.
“The kids’ school holidays start this week, so that’s always good for slush and ice cream sales and Pokemon will give it an extra bounce,” he noted. “I’m hopeful that it will last for the summer. I think it will be a loom band situation, where it’s really crazy and then it stops overnight. I would say to other retailers do it and do it now.
“I’ve definitely increased sales, but it’s more than that – it’s an opportunity to increase your profile in the community and to have fun.”
Belvedere Food & Wine owner Amit Patel was also keen to capitalise on pokemon. “I think this could be a good way to drive sales,” he said. “This game is going to be popular for the entire summer. Once all the kids are into the craze properly, they’ll be out on the look-out for pokemon and pop in here for ice cream and crisps and we’ll pick up incremental sales.”
The game has received some negative press due to the fact that players are not always paying attention to their whereabouts as they are busy viewing the world through their phones. “We have to look at the safety aspects of it,” said Amit. “It’s a case of educating customers on social media to be aware of their surroundings when playing.”
He added: “I’ve never been into games before, but this isn’t just a game – it’s a business opportunity. Everything you can do is free, so we need to take advantage of it while we can.”
For more information on how you can capitalise on this mega trend, check out our handy Pokemon How To Guide