If you spend any time at all on the Internet, then it’s a safe bet that you’ve heard about Pokémon Go. In just a few days, it surpassed Twitter in daily users, and even overtook the behemoth that is Facebook in terms of how much time people are spending on the app. In fact, Pokémon Go has already “claimed the title of ‘biggest mobile game in U.S. history.” We could go on and on about the viral sensation that has been created with this app, but there have already been enough pieces expounding on Pokémon Go’s rapid and unprecedented success.
While their seemingly instant growth is remarkable, what’s perhaps even more interesting is how people have begun to employ the app to their advantage. As one Reddit user who operates a coffee shop noted, his income has doubled since the inception of Pokémon Go, because he buys “lures all day long” and drops them inside his own business. Of course, there’s no way to know if this story is actually true, as Reddit isn’t exactly a source of infallible material, but the idea behind the post is sound.
Local businesses could, and should be using Pokémon Go to try and attract consumers. While some people have chosen to bash adults and kids alike for running around trying to catch Pokémon just like Ash Ketchum taught us, the fact of the matter is that it’s a fun app, which has also gamified exercise. In addition to the previous example, there have already been documented cases of other businesses taking advantage of Pokémon Go.
“Lures increase the rate of Pokemon generation in the area around the PokeStop where they’re placed for one half hour. That may not sound that powerful, but Pokemon are scarcer than you think. Luring is an insanely powerful tool that you really have to see to believe. Here’s a sample of the comments from some recent Reddit threads on the subject:
- ‘We did this last night (college town), and within minutes of dropping the lure, 30 people walked in.’
- ‘I own a pizzeria that’s a Pokestop and I literally did this all day. I had a ton of kids and adults (mostly adults) come in for a slice of pizza and a drink until the lure ran out.’
What’s even more incredible is just how affordable luring is. Let’s do the math. With $100 netting out 14,500 Pokecoins and an eight-pack of Lures costing 680 Pokecoins:
- 14,500 Pokecoins/680 = 21 eight packs of lures
- (21*8)/2=84 hours
- $100/84 = $1.19 per hour.”
In that initial Reddit thread, other users began to wonder if this was ultimately part of Pokémon Go’s plan; to provide businesses with a way to attract customers. While that will be up for debate, unless Niantic outright says it was, one thing that can’t be debated is that businesses have already started to implement Pokémon Go into their respective business plans.
Small neighborhoods with local businesses could flourish by using Pokémon Go. Is a new store opening up? Then spend some money in the app and buy lures to attract new customers. Have sales been trending down for the past few months? Then why not turn to Pokémon Go for help?
Of course, if your business model is outdated and filled with bottlenecks that are preventing its success, this app won’t be a savior, as “gamification shouldn’t be used as a ‘Hail Mary Pass.’ If your company is failing to meet expectations across the board, there isn’t going to be a quick fix. According to Gartner, ‘80% of all gamified platforms will fail to meet business goals.’ That’s not because the idea itself doesn’t work, but because most don’t understand how to use gamification.”
The same will be true for Pokémon Go’s gamification benefits. For someone looking to drive traffic, and is already equipped to handle an influx of new customers, they’ll be able to succeed, and capitalize on the app’s abilities. But if issues are abound, gamification won’t be able to help you.
There have already been other instances of people using Pokémon Go to try and make money. Ride sharing users have already begun offering a paid service to drive players around so that they can capture various Pokémon as quickly and efficiently as possible. There was even at least one occurrence of someone posting “her services as a ‘professional Pokémon Go trainer.’ The NYU graduate promises to ‘help YOU become the very best’ for $20 an hour.”
When it comes down to it, she’s not unlocking any crazy secrets that will help you become the Pokémon master you’ve always wanted to be, but rather, she’s simply charging money to “walk around the city for one to four hours and capture every creature she comes across.” Whether or not this business strategy bears fruit for Ivy St. Ive, the fact that it exists at all is proof enough of Pokémon Go’s reach.
The app has only been available for 13 days, but we’ve already seen the vast impact it’s had on the real world. People are exercising, using it to attract customers into their business, and even becoming Pokémon chauffeurs and trainers. There are surely going to be more instances of the app being used for personal gain, and with Pokémon Go set to be released in Japan tomorrow, their user base is going to experience another rapid increase.
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