Is your business taking advantage of Pokémania?

By now almost everyone, including those who haven’t played it yet, has heard about the Pokémon Go craze. But it’s just a computer game, right? Not quite.

The very nature of this game requires that players get out of their homes and into their communities (e.g., local parks, libraries, restaurants, and shops). And savvy marketers are riding the wave by adopting some clever strategies to drive players to their businesses. Recently, Inc. published a how-to on leveraging Pokémania to generate traffic, earn new customers, and delight existing ones.

What does this mean for grocery stores? Here’s why we believe it’s a perfect fit.

  • Unlike big corporations, grocery and other retail destinations are strategically located near neighborhoods and in highly visible, well-traveled, public areas. Just where you might find Bulbasaur, Rattata, Pidgey, and Zubat.
  • Yelp, a go-to search engine for to-go food, has added a filter that shows which stores and establishments are near a PokéStop.
  • Pokémon Go is being hailed as the next big, inadvertent exercise program. Sore legs have become a phenomenon. Lifehacker even published a companion Pokémon workout plan. You care about this because you sell bottled water, fresh produce, and single-serving health and energy snacks.

Now if you really want to do this right, you should probably identify someone on your staff who is well versed in — and actually plays — Pokémon Go. Next, try to determine if you are near a PokéStop or gym, and if so, consider purchasing packs of Lures (your resident expert can explain this to you).

The rest is pretty commonsense marketing. Offer BOGOs on healthy items like those mentioned above — heck, throw in pain relief and sport insoles. If you’re not near a PokéStop or gym, go to where the action is. Set up a stand within a cluster of Pokémon activity and give away water and tasting samples from your deli with coupons driving players into your store.

Finally, make sure you have a social media presence, like Facebook, where you can post your Pokémon-related activities and promotions.

It might be a temporary fad, but Pokémon Go may also be the most relevant way to connect with your shoppers. We really like what the Inc. article says: “businesses have an unprecedented opportunity to create strong emotional bonds with new customers, and for very little money.”

Let’s play.