How your business can make money from the Pokémon Go craze

The popular augmented reality app has launched in the UK. As users look to "catch 'em all", here's how business owners can monetise the app

Following smash hit success in America, where it has grown faster than dating app Tinder, augmented reality app Pokémon Go launched in the UK and Europe on Thursday 14 July in the Google Play and Apple App stores.

A free-to-play app, Pokémon Go uses location-based augmented reality technology, making use of the GPS on mobile devices, to allow players to capture, battle, and train virtual Pokémon which appear throughout the real world.

Since its launch in the US last week, the app – created by The Pokémon Company – has already been downloaded millions of times and has received a mix reception from critics.

Some professionals have said the app can improve the mental and physical health of people by getting them to spend more time outside and can even go so far as to cure depression, while others have noted that it has caused a public nuisance to some locations. There have even been reports of criminals using the app to attract people to certain locations to conduct robberies.

Despite the controversy, the app’s popularity shows little signs of slowing down and, with its entry into the UK market, businesses are in prime position to capitalise on its launch.

How to make money from Pokémon Go

PCMag has referred to the Pokémon Go-driven economic environment as the “Pokéconomy” and already in America, a number of restaurants, bars and bricks-and-mortar stores are making money from the app.

Businesses are “deliberately tapping into the real-world windfall” and looking at ways of monetising the app; through promotions, events, freebies and more.

These businesses have either been lucky in so far that the app developers have selected them to become a ‘Pokéstop’ and have a Pokémon at or nearby their location, or these businesses have purchased ‘lure modules’; an in-app purchase that attracts Pokémon to a specified location for users to find.

Any business can purchase these lure modules and become a Pokémon Go destination. These modules hold the key to enabling your business – be it a retail store, restaurant, tech company – to unlock the profit potential of Pokémon Go.

For instance, if you own a pub you could purchase lure modules and then set up a Charmander or Pikachu to be perched on the bar or just outside your venue. You could set this lure module up to coincide with a drinks offer, perhaps Happy Hour. Players will come to your pub, ‘catch’ the Pokémon with a ‘Poké ball’ on their smartphone, and may also then be simultaneously ‘lured’ in to take up your drinks deal.

Lure modules: How do they work?

For bricks-and mortar businesses, particularly small independent companies, the app is a great way to advertise your business locally. One lure module costs 100 Pokécoins and a pack of eight lure modules costs 680 Pokécoins.

You buy the coins with real money, and in America 100 Pokécoins costs just 99 cents which places a Pokémon at your location for 30 minutes – and with it guaranteed customer traffic. You can also buy Pokécoins in allotments all the way up to 14,500.

On this basis, your business could set up a lure module every 30 minutes for the duration of your opening hours.

Paul Surtees and Ollie Maitland of finance start-up Capitalise recently used the lure modules to attract Pokemon to cafes, bars and other small businesses in Old Street and Shoreditch and said that the move saw gamers “flock to 20 pre-selected ‘Pokestops’ in the area”. Surtees said of the app:

“We’ve used Pokemon Go to help show small businesses that, through jumping on cutting edge technology and trends, there’s huge potential to boost sales and improve their financial outlook.”

So what are you waiting for?

Download the app, purchase some lure modules and get ready for Pokémon Go customers to visit your business premises on a mission to “catch ’em all”!

View more guides to marketing your business here.

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