If you're late to the party, here's your 10-second summary of Pokémon GO: app-users search for Pokémon superimposed over real maps and locations, hoping to catch 'em all. It's rocking the nation, and the world.
And businesses are saying, where there's Pokémon, there's money. The app itself is free, but that doesn't mean there's no profit to be made. Since the launch of the app earlier this month, it has outperformed Twitter, Tinder, and even internet searches for adult entertainment. People have been taken aback when large groups of Pokémon GO-ers have ambushed their houses, or run by in a stampede to capture a rare Pokémon. But some businesses see its popularity as an opportunity to lure customers by turning their stores into PokéStops. Here's how.
According to The New York Times, not only does Pokémon GO give players the chance to buy virtual items to be on the fast-track to catch 'em all, but, "by charging fast-food restaurants, coffee shops and other retail establishments to become sponsored locations where people are motivated to go to pick up virtual loot," Niantic is making Pokémon good for all.
But this isn't the first time a virtual reality game is pumping the economy. Niantic's predecessor, Ingress was designed with the same principle in mind -- to let businesses sponsor the game and barter for traffic.
Restaurants and stores are also initiating new marketing campaigns to target Pokémon GO users. The popular chain restaurant Applebee's, for example, tried to lure in customers by retweeting photos of their customers catching Pokémon while dining.
Companies are also using "lure modules" to trap potential customers. It's a feature of the game that can be set by location to attract Pokémon. (And where there are Pokémon, there will soon be people.) According to Inc.com, setting a lure is totally affordable and effective. After the lure is dropped, like clockwork, the people start pouring in.
But that's not all -- entrepreneurs are taking it on themselves to create their own Pokémon GO-inspired businesses. According to an article in Australia's Sydney Morning Herald, a Silicon Valley start-up created pokewalk.com. It's a website that walks your phone to catch new Pokémon. This means, people actually pick up your phone, take it for a walk up to 10 kilometers for $20, and then bring it back to you with more Pokémon caught.
With a little creativity and some teamwork, any new phenomena can lead to profit. Pokémon GO is already proving a worthwhile investment, so we can only imagine how it will continue to impact our economic future.
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