Your Local Smokeshop Could Be A Pokemon Hub!
A guide from HQ Magazine on how local shops are leveraging Pokemon Go to increase business
Smoke shops are used to a wide variety of characters hanging out at their businesses. Take a look around -- have you seen any lately named Rattata, Ponyta, or Zubat? By now, you've probably heard of the augmented-reality mobile game "Pokémon Go," in which players move throughout the real world to hunt for and capture digital Pokémon. Since the game is geographically based, there are a number of ways you can use it to attract local players to your location and, hopefully, convert them into paying customers.
Here's some highlights from a great article courtesy of INC on how to "lure" Pokemen Go players into your store.
Find Out if Your Business Is a Gym or PokeStop
What makes Pokemon Go different from many other games is that it doesn't keep people shut up in their rooms. The game runs off an augmented reality HUD, or heads-up display, of the real world. Players' avatars explore with them as they catch Pokemon, collect rewards from PokeStops, battle other users at Gyms, and team up to defend their territory.
Figuring out whether your business is a PokeStop or Gym is the first thing you should do. PokeStops and Gyms attract foot traffic without any effort-players flock to them for rewards and to battle other players.
Pokemon Go offers a variety of in-app purchases. The one that is most important for your small business is a Lure Module.
When activated, the Lure attracts Pokemon to your location for one half hour. That may not sound like a great attractor, but Pokemon are scarce, and luring can be an insanely powerful engagement tool. When a Lure Module is dropped, every player in the vicinity will see it pop up on the map!
Here's a sample of the comments from some recent Reddit threads on the subject:
We did this last night (college town), and within minutes of dropping the lure, 30 people walked in. Hoooly s#&@.
I own a pizzeria that's a Pokestop and I literally did this all day. I had a ton of kids and adults (mostly adults) come in for a slice of pizza and a drink until the lure ran out.
What's even more incredible is just how affordable luring is – with $100 netting you 14,500 Pokecoins and an eight-pack of Lures costing 680 Pokecoins, for a little more than a dollar an hour, you can bring virtually guaranteed crowds to your door. The ROI here is ridiculous, so if your business is anywhere near a PokeStop, this is something you absolutely have to try.
All you have to do is:
(1) Tap the red Pokeball at the bottom of your HUD.
(2) Tap "Shop"
(3) Scroll down and tap the purple, box-shaped Lures to purchase. You'll re-direct to your app store's payment system.
(4) Once back in-app, tap the red Pokeball again, then tap "Items"
(5) Tap the purple Lure to activate.
Capitalize on Your Business Being Near a Pokemon Gym
Gyms are a separate kind of animal entirely from PokeStops. You can't put down Lures, but you don't have to either, because users are converging on Gyms day and night to face off with other users.
To see if your business is near a gym, just open Pokemon Go on your phone and look for the tall structures with little Pokemon near the top on the in-game map.
Capitalizing on your proximity to a gym is more about creative marketing in real life. One way to get people excited about visiting your business is to get on social media and show off the valuable or rare Pokemon popping up nearby. Take in-game screenshots and post them on facebook and Instagram where you're active. Use hashtags like #pokemongo and #pokemon to get the message out to potential new customers.
Surely there's a glass blower in your area that makes a Pokemon inspired pipe (and if there's not one closeby, you can likely find one on Instagram). Bring the characters to life with a dedicated showcase of Pokemon glass pieces.
Better yet -- hold a giveaway for the most captured charactures on a given day.
With Pokemon Go, businesses have an unprecedented opportunity to create strong emotional bonds with customers. Even if Pokemon Go isn't as powerful a tool for driving sales six months from now, the customers that you delight today are going to remember you tomorrow.
A special thanks to HQ Magazine for originally publishing this write up.