You may have seen a few wayward souls wandering around your business park recently. They may have even driven up, parked in your lot, and wandered around, perhaps without stopping in for as much as a hello. What’s the deal? More likely than not, it’s related to the recent hit mobile game, Pokémon Go. This hot new mobile app has completely taken over the lives of children, teenagers and adults. But the technology, and the game itself, could be just what you need to bring those Poké players right to your doorstep and increase your business.
The premise behind Pokémon Go is simple. Based on a Japanese game licensed by Nintendo, players are tasked with locating, capturing and training cute fictional creatures called Pokémon (a portmanteau of the words “pocket monster”, in case you were wondering). The game connects players to their elusive pets by utilizing location data. This data was developed over the course of several years from the game’s developer, Niantic, with geographical information also obtained through Google Maps. Combined, the two sources send players scurrying around, often on foot, to find and capture Pokémon in various locations. Different Pokémon can be found in different areas unique to their kind (e.g., some Pokémon are more likely to be located near water, or in forests).
While it is true that the game has attracted a large fan-base among eager youngsters, the game is uniquely popular among individuals between 18 and 40. The reason is due to the original game’s popularity when this age group, often referred to as Millennials, was young. Now that the game has resurfaced with an augmented reality twist, it provides several business opportunities, especially in the automotive industry.
Consider this: What services do you offer that are highly competitive? For repair shops or other related businesses, you may offer services such as oil changes, tire rotations or car repairs. These services often result in customers waiting for some time while their cars are worked on. Why not advertise your business as Pokémon Go friendly? If players know that they are free to wander around the store (where reasonable, of course) while their vehicle is getting serviced, they are more likely to choose your business over a competitor’s. If you have competitors that are either openly hostile to the idea, or have not taken an open and friendly stand on the topic, this is your chance to distinguish your business.
For car dealerships, this is a great chance to attract new customers to come check out cars and go for test rides. Parents with children can be encouraged to bring them in for a test drives as well. The test drive can consist of going hitting PokéStops (unique, culturally relevant and publicly accessible places where players can get free items) or even taking a swing by a Pokémon Gym (where players can fight and train their Pokémon). While the kids catch Pokémon, it provides an excellent opportunity to explore the features of new vehicles.
If your business offers free WiFi, this is a bonus. The Pokémon Go game requires access to data, something that can be hard to come by in certain locations. For businesses located in more rural areas, advertising your free Wi-Fi for customers to capture Pokémon can be the deciding factor for whether they choose your business over a competitor’s.
Additionally, consider offering discounts for players who have managed to capture certain types of Pokémon, or who align to different teams. In the game, there are Pokémon that are rare, or with differing levels of rarity. The game also allows players to join different teams (Mystic, Valor and Instinct), which battle for supremacy of the many Gyms spread throughout the country. You may choose to offer rolling discounts for different teams. Just be careful: You could drive away business for offering discounts to the wrong team!
To recap, there are many great ways Pokémon Go can be extremely advantageous to a business in the automotive industry. This includes:
It may be unusual to think of making your business as a hangout spot for customers. Most automotive businesses are accustomed to moving customers in and out. However, consider making your business a place where people want to come on a regular basis, even if it is just to capture a few Pokémon every now and then. When it comes time to purchase new parts for their car, get a regular checkup or service, or even to purchase a new car, your business may quickly find itself on many customers’ short list.