For anyone who’s not up to date on the craze, it’s a smartphone app that has been released in the US, Canada, Australia, NZ and Europe so far using Google map data and GPS so that users can look for small creatures known as Pokémon in their surroundings.
Various locations and landmarks around Australia have been turned into Pokéstops, where users can refill on Pokéballs, to catch Pokémon. Once Pokémons are found, they appear on the user’s smartphone superimposed on to the real world and the Pokéballs are used to catch them.
‘Gyms’ also exist across Australia, where the Pokémons battle it out for control of the location and be trained to become more powerful. Pokéstops can also be boosted with "Lures" which attract surrounding Pokemon.
So far the craze has seen flashmobs of hundreds of people arriving at locations as they chase the virtual cartoon characters and battle at the gyms in their teams. Victoria’s Chadstone Shopping Centre has 15 Pokéstops and four gyms and reported an increase of shoppers recently.
Increasingly shopping centres, amusement parks, venues and events are using the game as part of their marketing strategies.
Lost Heaven restaurant in Melbourne’s CBD is an example of a Pokéstop that is offering discounts for customers with certain Pokémon, guaranteeing they spend money rather than just hang about refreshing their screens.
While mobile phone companies are unlikely to see more data revenue because the app uses little data, they are reporting higher sales of accessories as users need to charge their phone batteries.
Businesses who are keen to cash in on the craze will soon be able to buy any in-game landmark guaranteeing foot traffic from Pokémon hunters.
Another way to capitalise on the craze is to invite people to come and play at your business location using your social media channels. You could also ask players to share their favourite Pokemon pics and tag your business when they do.
Encouraging players to check-in to your business while playing will also offer more social media engagement on your Facebook page.
Smart Company has compiled a list of eight businesses that have taken Pokémon Go marketing to the next level.
1. Readings Bookstores in Melbourne capitalised on a nearby PokeStop with an artistic take on a Pokéball
2. Woolworths gave its Facebook fans tips to catch Pokémon in store
The post advises shoppers to avoid common Pokémon such as Zubat, which may go against the timeless ‘catch ’em all’ adage.
“We've had several reports from customers around the country of wild Pokémon appearing in our stores. Here are some tips to catch 'em all...
1. We hear that Pikachu has been seen near batteries, lightbulbs and power boards.
2. Don't confuse 'Oddish' for 'Radish'. One goes great in a salad, the other not so much.
3. If you see a Zubat, ignore it. You can find them everywhere.”
3. Virgin Mobile Australia allows trainers to top up their phone’s charge in store
Pokémon Go is a very battery hungry app, and many users have taken to carrying around portable charge packs to get a bit of extra Pokéjuice.
4. Doughnut Time took to Instagram to promote Pokéball Nutella-filled doughnuts
It might be wise to avoid throwing these at any Pokémon, unless that Pokémon is your stomach.
5. East Brunswick Hotel in Melbourne erected a sign out the front of the pub, which also doubles as a gym location in the game
The sign advertises a free jug of beer for the current leader of the gym.
6. Melbourne Central’s Pancake Parlour set up a number of Pokémon Nights at the store
Users can pay $12 for some pancakes, free Wi-Fi and constant Lure Module activation. Lure Modules are purchasable in-game items that attract Pokémon to the area for 30 minutes at a time.
7. Australian Bananas used Facebook to warn users of the Pokémon known as ‘Mankey’ hiding near bananas nationwide
The Pokémon looks a lot like a monkey, but it is unknown if they share the same love for bananas.
8. Finally, AirNZ promoted its Pokémon-catching Snapchat story on Instagram, posting an image of rock-type Pokémon ‘Geodude’
Having one of its primary moves as ‘Earthquake’, some customers may not be comfortable with a Geodude near any airplanes.
Read more examples of how Pokémon Go can attract more customers to your business, and how Australian businesses have tried different ways to make some Pokésales.