Unless you’ve been living under a virtual rock, you’ve probably heard of this little phenomenon called Pokémon Go. My family and I were down at Newport Aquarium last Sunday, and I’m not exaggerating when I say that no less than 30% of the people at Newport on the Levee were playing (including our two daughters). Pokémon Go has been downloaded millions of times – so many times that their servers are crashing regularly – and is generating an estimated $1.6 million in daily revenue. And it seems, many local business are doing what they can to cash in as well.
The other day I heard an interview on WLW radio with a representative from Tom+Chee, and the restaurant chain is capitalizing on the massive success of Pokémon Go. As luck would have it, their downtown location is a PokéStop, a landmark where gamers can collect Pokémon and Pokémon-related essentials. PokéStops are creating a ton of foot traffic for local businesses, and if your location is designated as a PokéStop, you can also pay a nominal fee (roughly $1.20 an hour) to “lure” additional players to your business. This lure causes PokéStops to attract even more digital critters to your location, thereby ensuring that more and more players come to that PokéStop. There have been reports of some businesses getting as much as a 75 percent increase in profitability due to lures.
As of now, a business can’t buy or sponsor a PokéStop or a Pokémon Gym location (where players do battle with other players), but you know this option isn’t far off. So, is Pokémon Go a fad that will die out by the end of Summer, or the next big thing? Only time will tell. But if you’re a business owner lucky enough to be located near a PokéStop, strike while the iron is hot.