Pokémon GO: How Small Businesses Can Benefit
We will admit that Pokémon GO has been a bit of an obsession here at Team Organic Towers. What started out as research (honest), has now become a regular topic of conversation!
What started as an April fool’s joke back in 2014 has turned out to be real life market research!
The truth is it’s been inevitable for quite some time.
While the rise of commercial Virtual Reality (VR) has been ground breaking in the last couple of years, Augmented Reality (AR) has been making bigger strides.
The technology itself has been around since 1992 when it was developed by Louis B. Rosenberg in the U.S Airforce Research Lab. Sounds like serious stuff but I bet he didn’t imagine 24 years later we’d be using the same tech to chase our childhood heroes around local neighbourhoods!
But with the recent success of geolocation apps such as Foursquare, their sister app Swarm and the Geocaching craze used by walkers and hikers alike, geotagging has exploded. It’s no wonder an app that contains all these successful elements has been put together. What is surprising is that Pokémon did it first!
So what is Pokémon GO?
The objective of Pokémon GO is to visit real life locations highlighted on the game’s GPS enabled map. Players can collect the Pokémon creatures who appear on the map as they walk. They can also visit geotagged locations to gather items, access virtual gyms to train up their Pokémon and battle other players.
This means players physically have to walk to the locations on the map to take part in the game, the result is more people of all ages have been out walking in the great outdoors, or at least their local communities.
How can it help small businesses?
As well as visiting key locations such as parks and neighbourhoods, Niantic Labs Chief Executive Frank Hanke has suggested in an interview with the Financial Times that for a fee businesses will be able sponsor their location as a key geotagged event in the game.
Businesses in the US are already cashing in however, by using an item on the game called a ‘lure module’ which attracts Pokémon to a particular area which in turn almost guarantees Pokémon GO players come by and maybe buy something while they’re there. See how Huge Atlanta are doing this as reported by bonappetit.com.
But what if Pokémon isn’t your thing or it doesn’t fit your brand?
Don’t worry, it looks like this is only the start.
With the apparent overnight success of Pokémon GO it won’t be long before rival companies attempt to emulate this model. We predict apps aimed at niche markets or viral marketing for TV shows (Walking Dead AR anyone?) won’t be far behind Pokémon GO’s success. PS. AMC, if you’re reading this, we thought of it first!
So while we continue to chase Pokémon around our carpark it’s safe to say we’re fascinated by the possibilities of AR marketing and look forward to seeing how it develops.
Have you experienced the effects of Pokémon GO on your business? Let us know in the comments below.