A Pokémon Go case study
Every now and then a seemingly random craze takes off. A few months back it was Pokémon Go – the new mobile game that saw teens and nostalgic thirty-somethings alike take to the streets in search of strange virtual creatures called Jigglypuff or Meowth.
The question is, as a business owner is it ever worth trying to jump on the bandwagon, if only for a little bit?
Most crazes die out eventually. You have to balance the cost of spending your time and energy on what might be a fad, against what the possible benefits are.
Let’s look at a real example and go back to Pokémon Go: The game is based on a map of the real world, with specific locations that give creatures or items to the players, or offer a chance to play against each other. These locations often include spots on the high street that may be near, or actually be your business.
As a result, when the game came out some companies found they were getting extra footfall all of a sudden. Some found they had people lurking around the aisles of their shop, hurriedly pressing their phone screen a lot, but not actually buying more.
On our travels, we’ve seen a few businesses try to capture these customers’ attention – not all successfully.
A few examples – a bookshop offered a discount on game-related products if customers had proof of an in-game action at that location. It was a clever move because it incentivised people to play near them and buy related products at a bargain price (while still leaving a profit for the bookshop, which they might not have received without the offer).
A nearby pub happily advertises itself as a ‘Pokégym’ spot – basically, what it’s really saying is ‘sit in here and play for a while’ safe in the knowledge that once a customer is in the building, they’re going to start buying drinks. Probably.
A fried chicken restaurant in London was willing to give Pokemon players a discount – so long as they tweeted about it with the company’s Twitter name.
That’s the key thing – if you’re going to offer something (from a discount to a warm seat for the night) to your customers, you need to make sure there’s something in it for you too, so it’s a win-win situation. For the bookshop it was increased orders, for the pub it was more people inside the building, for the restaurant it was publicity on social media.
Zipcar had a snazzy advert promoting a discount for catching Pokemon, and Toys R Us hosted a drawing session to pull in younger fans.
All these different types of businesses came up with ways to draw in a relevant crowd at an affordable cost to them which would hopefully lead to an increase in sales. Makes getting on the bandwagon look pretty attractive, right?
We did see one cafe that offered a discount to Pokémon players for no particular reason. I’m not sure offering 10% off everything to one lot of customers but no one else is going to win much praise. At least the bookshop was only offering discount on Pokémon-related purchases, while the pub didn’t offer any discount at all. This, along with the Toys R Us sign, was also possibly the most amateurish sign.
Whether you think there’s still time to get in on the Pokémon fad or you’re waiting for the next craze to come along, bear these tips in mind:
- Only offer discounts if you will also be seeing increased sales.
- Increased purchases aren’t the only ‘win’ – cash in on a craze correctly and you could get attention on social media, too.
- Whether you have a sign or advert to attract attention to what you’re doing, make sure it looks professional. If that’s something you can’t do in-house yourself, we can of course help at 155Creative.
If you don’t know your Pikachu from your Snorlax, who cares! Read enough about it in the news or on Wikipedia so you can nod along at the next customer who comes in chatting about it, and make some money out of it!
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