Pokémon Go has exploded to become a certified cultural phenomenon. Every businessman, entrepreneur and game designer is watching Pokémon Go with a mixture of excitement and envy. Smart entrepreneurs and businessmen understand that although it appears to be a simple combination of graphics and gameplay, the underlying design is quite complex and well thought out. There is nothing trivial or silly about it. It is the most successful App launch ever seen. The most savvy entrepreneurs and businessmen have quickly realized there are ways to make money from this craze, even if you are not John Hanke (CEO of Niantic and the creator of Pokémon Go,) or Nintendo nox app player.
First the basics:
* Pokémon Go tracks player’s location, which forces people to get off your couch, out of their house, and travel to specific locations called PokéStops and Gyms. Good news, those Pokémon players (called Trainers) are real world consumers, and the PokéStops and Gyms are real world destinations.
* Demographic studies show that most Pokémon Trainers/players are 18-35, and cut across all ethnic boundaries. Although there are a significant number of kids playing (and mothers who may be customers,) it means that most of your local Trainer/players have disposable income available.
* A Pokémon Gym is a real world location where Trainers/players must physically travel to, in order to battle other Pokémon. If your store is near a Pokémon Gym, then Trainers/players will be coming to your doorstop. If you have one near you, you probably already know it.
* A PokéStop is a place where Trainers/players can get free in-game tools used in gameplay. Again, if you have one near you, you probably already know it. A PokéStop can also be assigned a Pokémon Lure which attract Pokémon creatures, which in turn attract additional Trainers/players, also known as potential customers. Retailers, restaurants, bars, and coffee shops have all taken advantage of nearby PokéStops. See examples #14, and #18 below.
* The Trainer/players hunt and capture Pokémon of differing rarity and value. The Pokémon have names and unique identities. That opens up possibilities for small business owners such as the bar that offered specific bounties. See example #17 below.
* Once a Player/trainer achieves Level 5, they must choose loyalty to one of three factions, Team Mystic, color Blue; Team Instinct, color Yellow; or Team Valor, color Red. As a businessman, your potential customer has therefore aligned themselves with a color and a team. That means your yellow merchandise suddenly has greater appeal to members of Team Instinct, your red items to Team Valor, and so on.
* Pokémon Go is a battery hog. Trainers/players are constantly draining their phones. This is a problem for them, and an opportunity for you.
* There are Twitter hashtags and Facebook groups for Pokémon fanatics. This means there are very affordable methods to get your message directly to local targeted Trainers/players.
* Lastly, Pokémon Go has been having problems with their servers. Too many people want to play, and Pokémon’s servers have crashed which has led to frustration and thousands of internet memes. Like the game itself, the frustration can be the source of money making ideas. See the T-shirt example #45 below.
So with that out of the way, here are some ways that people and corporations are making money from the Pokémon Go craze. Look down this list. With some imagination, there are opportunities for you too.
1. The first and most obvious way to make money on this craze is to invest in Nintendo. The smartest investors put their money in before it hit big, but nothing breeds success like success. So who knows what will come next.
2. If you own a Restaurant, a Pub, Coffee Shop, Snack Shop, Ice Cream Shop, etc. and you are located near a PokéStop, place a Lure at the PokéStop and place a sign inviting customers to sit and play. If you don’t know how to place a Lure, walk outside, find someone staring intently at their phone, and ask them.
3. Do you have a Restaurant, Coffee Shop, Snack Shop, Ice Cream Shop close to a PokéStop, BUT NOT CLOSE ENOUGH? Station a server at the PokéStop with food samples and discount coupons.
4. Do you have a Restaurant Pub Coffee Shop, Snack Shop, Ice Cream Shop close to a PokéStop, but not close enough, AND is the PokéStop Lure free? Place Lure at PokéStop. Set up a small sign saying you have placed the Lure (build awareness and gratitude for your shop, and increase your “cool” factor,) and that Lures placed at the top of every hour. Invite players to come have a cup of coffee while they wait. Great way to show your support and to build loyalty. This worked wonderfully for a tavern in Fairbanks Alaska. Yes they have Pokémon there too.
5. But what if you have a Restaurant Pub Coffee Shop, Snack Shop, Ice Cream Shop close to a PokéStop, but not close enough, and OTHER STORES are placing Lures? Place a sign at the PokéStop inviting customers to your shop and offer a free phone charging station. Pokémon Go players are often surprised at how quickly their phone battery drains and will flock to you. Be sure to have some fast charge stations for the Galaxy 6 and 7.
6. You don’t need a restaurant. If you own a Retail Store near a PokéStop, you can take advantage as well. Trainers/players do more than drink coffee. They purchase things too. You can place a Lure at the PokéStop and then set up a sign inviting new customers to shop.
7. Pub Crawls are already popping up around Portland Oregon and other cities. Sponsor one if you are a bar or pub.
8. Yelp is already making money from the Pokémon craze. They have installed a filter so players know which stores are near PokéStops. Don’t have one near you? Niantic has a support form on their website that you can use to request a PokéStop or Gym.
9. Are you an expert player? Do you at least know how to set up a Lure? Many shop owners do not know anything about Pokémon Go, and may be technophobic. Offer to set it up for them and monitor it during store hours. I have heard rates running from $50/day to $300/day in service fees.
10. You can do the same for locations that are not located near you if you use a rooted phone and a GPS spoofer. I personally DO NOT endorse this idea. You run the risk of being banned, but the how-to information is already online so I would be remiss if I didn’t list it here.
11. PokéStops include some apartment complexes. Are you the rental agent for an apartment complex? Be sure to place a Lure at your PokéStop.
12. Are you an artist? Offer to paint window art featuring Pokémon in stores and restaurants near PokéStops.
13. El Cid in Silver Lake California, has a Pokémon Gym, and a weekday Pokémon happy hour. Why not you?
14. L’inizio Italian Restaurant in Long Island City, New York, increased sales 75% over a recent weekend by investing $10 in Lures at a PokéStop at their restaurant.
15. The US Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville Alabama offers Group discounts to individual Pokémon players who show the App when purchasing tickets. They advertise 22 locations, including three gyms, and suggest that visitors wander and appreciate all the museum has to offer while they are hunting Pokémon.
16. One Pizza parlor offered discounts and free slices based on a player’s level. They quickly learned that freebies were not a good idea.
17. Pints & Pixels in Huntsville Alabama has offered bounties for specific Pokémon caught nearby.
18. AFK Tavern in Everett Washington, a must-go pub for any serious gamer or geek, is the site of a Pokémon Gym. They offer a discount if you are the leader of the gym. They warn against false claims by boasting that 98% of their wait staff plays. Hmmm, what is wrong with the other 2%
19. You can do the same discount as AFK Tavern even if there is no gym on your site. Simply choose a gym nearby and place a sign at the gym advertising your discount.
20. It may be obvious, but if you have a Food truck, park it at a PokéStop and place a Lure.