How Pokémon GO Locations in New Hampshire Can Improve Local Business
At this point, if you haven’t heard one of the crazy stories surrounding Pokémon GO locations in New Hampshire, you’re definitely in the minority. Whether you’re an avid player, or a puzzled business owner—Pokémon GO is definitely going to be on your radar in the future. Before we dig into the how and the why, let’s flash back a bit and remember where these animated creatures first came from.
Back in 1996, the first Pokémon games were released on Nintendo’s Game Boy, with subsequent sequels, merchandise, and movies to follow. Depending on how old you were back then, Pokémon are either fondly remembered, or terribly misunderstood—what in the world is a “Pocket Monster,” anyway?
Fast-forward to July 6, 2016, and suddenly social media is abuzz with these colorful creatures, roaming wild in the augmented reality of a GPS-enabled feature (like geocaching) inside a new mobile app called Pokémon GO.
The game became a global sensation overnight, almost overtaking Twitter with daily active users. Pokémon GO is currently the most profitable game in both Google and Apple’s app store; meanwhile, Nintendo’s stock is growing off the charts.
What is Pokémon GO?
The Pokémon Company, Nintendo, and developers at Niantic Labs are the first groups to showcase augmented reality (AR), allowing players to explore the world through their phone’s camera lens and observe Pokémon in real-world settings with enabled GPS.
Players pick teams, catch and train more than 150 Pokémon, many of which can only be found in geographic regions that apply to their powers, skills, and type. For example, Fire and Rock-type Pokémon (like Geodude, Sandshrew, and Mankey) are more likely to be found in arid climates, whereas Psychic and Water-type Pokémon (like Psyduck, Staryu, and Magikarp) prefer to be near the coast.
The objective of the game aligns with traditional Pokémon lore, which is to catch all the wild Pokémon, train them, and battle for glory. Of course, the real glory goes to Niantic Labs for bridging the gaps in augmented reality and adding game mechanics and visuals layered on top.
Augmented reality refers to the integration of digital information and the user’s natural surroundings depicted in real time. The first display of this kind of technology is more obvious than you might expect: it appeared on TV screens across the country as a yellow “first down” line for NFL games beginning back in 1998.
Today, augmented reality is a feature we hear about more often in products like Google glass and heads-up displays in smart car windshields. It’s used throughout many industries including healthcare and public safety. Not surprisingly, the CEO of Niantic Labs, John Hanke, happens to be one of the original architects of Google Earth—key technology when building an AR game that encompasses the real world.
Pokémon GO and Local Business
How does this impact business here in New Hampshire? One of the most interesting and meaningful aspects of Pokémon GO are the Gym locations, and special sites known as PokéStops. These are places where players come to challenge other teams for top player positions, gain experience, and gather special items.
What’s unique about these locations is that players have to travel to the designated sites—sorry, no couch potatoes—to score accessories and items like Poké Balls.
Gyms and PokéStops can be found all over, including at special points of interest like monuments and even retail locations. That being said, there’s a good chance your business might end up as one of these places. If that’s the case, you can expect to see new customers in your store soon, likely with their faces glued to their smartphones.
At first blush, this might sound awful—a bunch of Pokémon trainers crowding the sidewalk space and messing up the merchandising. But a deeper look reveals that Pokémon GO offers small businesses unique ways to get involved and even profit from the extra foot traffic.
In fact, businesses around the country are already profiting from the new app, provided that they’re willing to play nice with the colorful creatures taking over augmented reality.
An art museum, located in Arkansas, is doing just that. Once they found out there was a crop of PokéStops sprinkled throughout the museum, the operators decided to take pictures of respective Pokémon with the art. The museum took the photos to social media and received some great press for doing so. Plus, they revealed a sense of humor to the public, after Pikachu and the gang infiltrated the museum’s private property.
That hasn’t been the case for every museum, the Holocaust Museum, for example, has been less welcoming to the virtual creatures, explaining to the Washington Post last week that, “Playing the game is not appropriate in the museum, which is a memorial to the victims of Nazism.”
PokéStop Locations in New Hampshire
Fortunately, most New Hampshire business owners aren’t carrying the weight of the Holocaust inside their stores. There have however been some notable Pokémon locations, including:
- The Merrimack YMCA is an official PokéStop
- Greeley Park in Nashua claims to have two gyms, and a wealth of Pokémon
- There’s another gym near the Hunt Building in Nashua
- Riverside Barbeque is offering participants of the Nashua Pokémon Meetup a 10% discount
How Can New Hampshire Businesses Attract Pokémon Go Players?
Regardless of how you feel about the game, it’s a great opportunity to lure new customers. In addition to embracing the game in your content marketing, or simply welcoming the players inside your store, you should take advantage of the Pokémon GO in-app purchases to draw more players (read: customers) to your store location.
A Lure Module is one such item, and with it you can attract Pokémon to a particular PokéStop for up to 30 minutes. Those Pokémon are visible to everyone playing the game, which gives people a reason to come to your store.
If you want your business to become a good Pokémon GO location in New Hampshire, this is a great way to attract players, particularly during times when business is slow. Get creative with your player offerings, and you can turn Pokémon foot traffic into paying customers.
Advertise ahead of time when and where the Lures will be dropped. Social media channels are a great way to spread the word, and players will appreciate the extra time to get to those locations.
Of course, this all hinges on whether or not your business is currently recognized in the game as a PokéStop location, and that might not be the case. In order to drop a Lure Module, your New Hampshire business has to be a PokéStop, which is pre-designated by the developer, Niantic Labs, according to this report by Forbes.
The good news is that Niantic Labs has every intention of creating opportunities for sponsored locations in Pokémon GO. In fact, if you’d like to get the ball rolling, you can submit your request to Niantic directly, using this form on the support page.
We don’t recommend holding your breath while waiting to hear back from Niantic. There have been several reports of buggy behavior from the app, and it’s unclear when the sponsored functionality will be up and running. Nevertheless, it’s not a bad idea to get in line while the line is presumably short.
Attract Pokémon GO Players to Your New Hampshire Business
In the meantime, there are other ways to get Pokémon players’ attention in New Hampshire.
For example, your business might be close to a Gym. Gyms are where players go to duke it out with rival teams.
Trainers pit their Pokémon against other players’ Pokémon, and battle for top spots on the podium. You can easily recognize these locations inside the game—they’re tall structures with Pokémon circling the top.
You can capitalize on your proximity to Gym locations by focusing on marketing that will be seen in real life by passing trainers. Approach creative marketing ideas with these players in mind. What would make their Gym experiences more appealing?
How About a Scoreboard?
Keep track of which team is in control of the nearby Gym with a large sandwich board or window sign. Give winning teams a discount, or a special offer. You can even order custom Pokémon Gym badges, which can include your company logo; give them away for free to players, and you’ve got some great guerrilla marketing.
Once trainers discover there’s a good Pokémon GO location in New Hampshire, they’re likely to flock there with dreams to catch em’ all. (That, by the way, is the game’s famous tagline.)
Host a Pokémon GO Tournament
In addition to keeping score of which team is in control of a nearby Gym, your business can host battle tournaments.
Remember, you can only purchase Lure Modules if your store is, or is close to, a PokéStop. Those are places where players pick up special items. Gym locations are where the actual battles take place, so a battle tournament would be most appropriate if you’re close to a Gym.
Tournaments can be held on a particular day, and for a particular period of time. Use tournaments to incentivize players to come and bring all their friends.
Share Pokémon Screenshots on Social Media
At the very least, take pictures of Pokémon you find in your store or at the nearby Gym or PokéStop; keep those pics rolling on your social media accounts.
Another great way to leverage Pokémon GO for your business is to encourage guests to share pictures of Pokémon they catch in or near your store.
Simply come up with a few creative hashtags (#PokémonGo+YourBusinessName) and let guests share their screenshots for an in-store discount. Have players tag your store’s location for extra exposure. A few bucks off on a store item is well worth the cheap marketing on social media. Plus, you hardly have to lift a finger.
Hit the Road and Host a Lure Party
If you feel like putting in a little more effort, take your business on a field trip and host a Lure party for your customers at a nearby PokéStop.
If you can host a Lure party at your actual business, that means you were lucky enough to be designated a PokéStop. If not, you can still use Lures to entice customers, but you will have to travel to a PokéStop to drop them in place.
Depending on the nature of your business, this is a great excuse to market outdoors to Pokémon players in their natural habitats—which is basically outdoors, and anywhere an unsuspecting Pokémon might be hiding.
Lures last for 30 minutes, so if you drop a bunch for a 30-minute Pokémon extravaganza, players will come for a chance to nab free Pokémon. You don’t even have to market a discount on your wares; sometimes customers just like it when a business takes interest in what’s popular or exciting in real life.
Pokémon GO Currency Exchange
Last but not least, let’s dig into how much it’s going to cost you to host a Lure party, or purchase other in-app items that will make your business more attractive to Pokémon GO players.
It’s been estimated that Pokémon GO is making $1.6 million per day in the iOS store, and that’s in the U.S. alone. So, how in the world is the company achieving this if the app is free to play?
Pokémon GO has a host of in-app purchases that can make it easier to catch Pokémon: items like, Poké Balls, Incense (which attract Pokémon), Lucky Eggs (an experience booster), and Lure Modules. To purchase these items, the game uses a currency, appropriately called Pokécoins.
There are ways to earn Pokécoins in the game without spending any actual money, but it takes a lot of work and requires you to cover a lot of real-word geography to maximize the effort. On the other hand, you can purchase Pokécoins with real money and save yourself the time and effort.
Currently, the exchange rate is pretty simple: $1 will get you 100 Pokécoins. However, the exchange rate gets better for your business as you increase purchase increments. For $100, you can score 14,500 coins, which is more than enough to purchase a pack of eight Lure Modules, for a cool 680 Pokécoins.
Even if you don’t spend $100 for the best value on Pokécoins, you can scoop up a single Lure Module for 100 Pokécoins, or $1. And if you plan on using Lures or Incense (80 Pokécoins) to attract players, it doesn’t get a whole lot cheaper when it comes to your business marketing.
If you think your business is a good Pokémon GO location here in New Hampshire, it’s probably worth the extra money to score the break in the currency exchange. If not, don’t worry; spending a few bucks on Pokémon GO won’t set you or your business back, but it’s an easy and affordable way to get people over to your business or special Pokémon GO event.
Fad or Fantastic Business Opportunity?
There are a lot of nonbelievers out there, and they’ll be quick to tell you that Pokémon GO is a fly-by-night fad with no future. Those naysayers are the same people that didn’t understand Pokémon when it first appeared 20 years ago, and, well, Pokémon is back!
Pokémon GO isn’t going to solve any major marketing challenges you’re facing. The significant point here is that competitive businesses need to take advantage of marketing opportunities when and how they come about. Businesses that want to thrive need to keep their eyes open, look for trends and shifts in the market, and yes, even fads, to reach out to customers and offer them a novel way to experience something they care about.
Moreover, Pokémon GO is the first of many apps that will utilize augmented reality. So, even if Pokémon GO doesn’t stick, it’s very likely that sometime down the road businesses owners will be faced with a similar AR situation. Rather than shun the opportunity, isn’t it better to understand what people find so deeply mesmerizing about the game and profit from it?
At almost no cost, your business can become a leader in your local area for Pokémon GO players. While this might not translate to increased dollars and cents immediately, it’s very possible that by providing patrons with a comfortable and safe place to enjoy their game, they’ll remember your business, and when they do, they’ll spend money there.
So, before you pass judgment on these little monsters, it might be a good idea to download the app and give it a try. At the very least, you might get some exercise.
We’d love to hear success stories on how Pokémon GO helped boost local traffic to your small business. Drop us a note on Facebook.