Gotta Catch ‘Em All: Businesses can profit from Pokémon GO traffic long-term

Pokémon GO has become an overnight sensation — with daily active users surpassing that of Twitter, it’s not uncommon to see groups of people congregating on the sidewalk, conspiring to catch the elusive Pokémon. The game has inspired pub crawls, scavenger hunts, and even fan fiction… but best of all, it’s inspired small businesses to get smart about marketing to this fast-growing group of users. From using a Lure Module to increase foot traffic to your location, to creating deals specifically for gamers, keeping up with pop culture can be a super effective way to draw some attention to your business from the viral smartphone game.

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But don’t stop there: businesses can capitalize on these huge traffic increases long-term while the foot traffic is still surging. Build a loyal customer base while business is booming — customer retention is fundamental for profitability long-term. Bain & Company and Harvard Business School found that a 5% increase in customer retention can increase a business’s profits by as much as 95%. Act quickly with a strong retention strategy to make sure these players become loyal customers for life.

Identify new customers + connect via mobile

New, mobile-savvy customers are wandering into your business in search of Pokémon — make sure you figure out who they are before they leave. Having a mobile app is one way to capture their information and start collecting valuable customer data. I mean, it’s pretty obvious that they’re into mobile apps, right?

However, in order for this to work, your business needs to have a mobile presence that inspires these new customers to interact with your business even after they’re on to the next Pokéstop — a bad mobile experience will never hold up to millennial scrutiny (especially when it has to compete for usage with Pokémon Go!). Avoid anything that adds more hurdles to the user experience — that’s just good customer service advice!

Push notifications are a great way to stay in contact with your new guests and send them direct, targeted marketing promotions in the future. Companies like Starbucks understand this, and incentivize their customers to download and use their loyalty app in order to gather actionable customer data.

Personalize communcation to create long-term engagement

Customers don’t want to be treated like everybody else; they only want offers that pertain directly to their interests. When new customers are initially drawn to your business from a specific promotion, it’s smart to target them differentially. For example, customers who discovered a new coffee shop in pursuit of Pokémon might receive messaging from the coffee shop that says “What’s hotter than Charizard? 10% off coffee at Local Coffee Shop!” (Boom. Feel free to use that one).  This type of communication can inspire potentially “promiscuous” PokéStop seekers into frequent buyers. By creating more repeat customers, businesses can increase customer spending 30% and visit frequency 18%. 

If you have customer contact information, use that info to keep those customers engaged with your business for the forseeable future. Send targeted promotions directly to their smartphones (since they’re not taking their eyes off of the phone anyways). Win back customers whose frequency wanes after the lure of the Poké-chase wears off by sending them timely offers.

Reataurants and retailers have to move away from treating each customer the same. Combine the tactics mentioned above – technology, engagement, personalization, and data – to develop an understanding of how to engage these new customers long-term while turning them into VIP guests. 

Key takeaway

The most obvious takeaway is this: your Pokémon Go customers live on their phones. Having a thoughtful mobile presence that adds time to customers’ days is a great way to communicate to your guests (especially Millennials) in an authentic and personalized way. Marketers have to engage directly with customers on their most personal device to remain relevant. Adopt what is already working and engage with your customers through their favorite medium — smartphones — and you might just catch ’em all.

(As they say… fish where the fish are. But not this fish. This is Magikarp and he sucks).  

Get the low-down on more loyalty programs:
1. ChipotleWhy Chiptopia is failing customers

2. Dunkin’ Donuts3 key takeaways from their new DD Perks program

3. Starbucks: Using mobile to make customers more loyal


Want to become a customer loyalty expert? Read “6 Critical Stats for Customer Loyalty,” a  study designed to help merchants better understand customer behavior and make more money with customer loyalty.