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Mobile Meets Real Life: Pokemon Go Has Retailers’ Attention

Before the game Pokemon Go burst onto the screens of millions of smartphone owners, its developers at Niantic created Ingress, a location-based massively multiplayer online game. The real-life locations mapped for Ingress became part of Pokemon Go, which is why you are seeing people wandering around in public paying even more attention to their small screens.

The goal of the game is to capture Pokemon, and players earn experience points for various in-game activities.

Gotta catch ’em all, to coin a phrase. One segment of society that’s trying to catch the players catching their collectibles has been the retail community. Stores that happen to be “PokeStops,” locations where Pokemon can be caught by players, have seen increases in foot traffic.

Shop.org VP of Digital Retail, Artemis Berry, told EcommerceBytes, “Pokemon Go is a fantastic example of innovation powered by mobile and tapping into the unlocked potential of gaming. Just like any other innovative technology, it will take time to see the full impact and future opportunities.”

“Retailers have been testing aspects of gamification for years on their own and with partnerships, but the adoption of Pokemon Go is a great example of the power of technology and how innovative retailers have to always be keeping up with consumers,” Berry said.

One way those innovative retailers have utilized to get in step with all those Pokemon Go players walking around comes in the form of purchased Lure Modules. These Lures are purchased in-game and last for 30 minutes when deployed. (Not familiar with the game? Learn more on Wikipedia.)

Since it’s now rumored at video game blog VG 24/7 that Niantic has stopped accepting requests to make new PokeStops and Gyms, Lures look like the best ongoing method to draw players to storefronts.

“The most critical thing right now is to be aware that there is a great interest and following – Pokemon Go is breaking records already,” said Berry. “And for this game and others like it out there now and coming in the future – we can only imagine that advertising partnerships will be a testing ground in the digital marketing world.”

Berry continued, “But, for most retailers (large and small) the most important thing to do is to do what retail does best. Engage with your consumers when they walk into your store and make it the best experience possible for them. Retailers should consider how to tap into the Pokemon fans if there is a direct connection to your products and services.”

Of interest to those attending the Shop.org Digital Retail’s Summit in September is the keynote on augmented and virtual reality delivered by Mitch Joel of Mirum, which will focus on this phenomenon.

An excerpt from the keynote description: “Augmented reality and virtual reality are the next major platforms and sometime soon in the future, we will all agree that this is the ideal digital retail experience.”

“The opportunity for retail is real and our members are already analyzing, testing, and fully embracing this,” Berry said. “And, you better believe we expect some of our attendees will be playing Pokemon Go at the Dallas Convention Center.”

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David A Utter
David A Utter
David A. Utter is a freelance writer based in Lexington, KY. He has covered technology topics from search to security to online business and has been quoted in places like ZDNet and BusinessWeek. He considers his appearance on NPR's "All Things Considered" with long-time host Robert Siegel a delightful highlight. You can find him on Twitter @davidautter and on LinkedIn.