In July of 2016, the landscape of the world changed virtually after a colorful, animated war broke out, all thanks to Pokéman Go. Everywhere across the globe, soldiers, both young and old, could be found wandering the land with square, lighted devices in their hands (a.k.a. smartphones).

The soldiers aren’t dressed in camouflage, but in plain clothes. Usually.

They don’t wear helmets and they move in packs. Usually.

They are the players of Pokémon Go, a mobile device game where users locate, capture, battle, and train virtual creatures. The game, created by Niantic, uses a GPS locator to place the creatures in the same real-world location as the player. The game has gained extreme popularity worldwide.

If you haven’t played it, you’ve heard of it. If you haven’t heard of it, you may need to get out more. It’s that hot.

Why is Pokémon relevant to the digital signage industry?

Pokémon is relevant to the digital signage industry because it can attract new customers, ultimately expanding your brand, expanding your businesses wallet, and blowing your mind with the game’s popularity.

If you are a savvy digital marketer, you can use your digital signage to flag your stores as a participating Pokémon Go stop, thus increasing your foot traffic, upping your sales, and bringing together a community that might not otherwise come together under any other circumstance.

The rate at which this groundbreaking virtual game has spread is extraordinary, to say the least. Just a week into its launch, Pokémon Go was installed on twice as many phones as Tinder, doubled engagement on Snapchat, and it is outshining Twitter with its numbers of daily users.

It’s crazy.

With so many downloads of the free application, it’s no surprise that local businesses are taking advantage of the friendly digital war. And rightly so.

Let’s talk about a few ways businesses are tapping into the trend digitally, and how you can too.

1) Turn Your Business into a Gym

No, no, we’re not talking about weights and treadmills taking over your store (unless you already are a gym, in which case you likely have weights and treadmills). We’re talking about making your place of business a battleground for Pokémon.

Why would you want to do that?

It sounds disastrous, I know, but it’s not. Turning your business into a virtual gym is a phenomenal way to pull in a new wave of customers.

Pokémon gyms are the battle arenas of Pokémon creatures. In these arenas, users can fight other players’ Pokémon, take over the space for their teams, and then continue to defend against further attack.

When a player “fights” another player, there isn’t any real physical activity, so no worries there. The user is just actively engaged in virtually defending his or her team.

Your job as a business owner is to try and figure out how your gym can be converted into sales. How can you leverage your business to turn players into buyers?

Consider using your digital sign to offer a Poké Promotion.

For each user that comes into your business, offer a buy-one-get-one-free promotion. If this doesn’t tickle your virtual fancy, offer half off of a specific item for every customer that can show he or she has won a battle in the gym.

Really, the Poké promo possibilities are endless.

2) Use Your Sign to Show Poké Stops

A Poké Stop is where players go to earn rewards. For each level a player gains after level one, he or she can unlock bonus consumable items as a reward for making progress.

If your business is a Poké Stop (or even near one), use your glorious digital sign to make users aware of the fact that you are. They need those rewards, and a bright, happy, digital sign can let them know just that.

Consider putting your digital sign in your store window, using various images of Pokémon, or video of two virtual creatures tearing it up in battle. Pokémon fans will recognize what you’re offering in an instant, and make a hard left to stop in to play.

The fact that you are sharing your enthusiasm of the game with users gives them all the more reason to visit. Don’t just share your single Poké Stop on your screen, share a few other area stops, too. Be a player. Literally. And virtually, of course.

3) Boast Your Rare Pokémon

The game Pokémon Go can get competitive. This is because not only are there regular creatures that need to be captured, there are some rarities, too. It’s the rare ones that really get players jazzed up about the game.

Rare (and often difficult to lure) Pokémon are the cream of the crop for some players. Use screenshots of those rare creatures to share with visitors. If you don’t know where to get them, search Google for such images.

You can consider playing the game yourself to capture your own images, but beware. Word on the street is that the game is highly addictive.

Once your store starts being recognized as a stop, get customers to share their rare Pokémon screenshots, too. After they do, pass along a coupon to bring them in at a future date, perhaps without their battle device and virtual world.

4) Turn Players into Customers

We just mentioned offering a user a coupon to bring them back in. If you go this route, I say go big or go home. Don’t just offer them a coupon, offer them a discount, a coupon, and a million other reasons to come back.

In my neighborhood, it isn’t unusual to see a pack of Poké players scoping the scenery at all hours of the day and night. As I write this post it’s the edge of summer, and some savvy neighbors of mine (all between the ages of 9 and 12) have figured out how to make money from the obsessed Poké players.

Just about every day, this group of four future entrepreneurs sets up shop with a lemonade and iced tea stand on the corner of a busier intersection. Poké players get thirsty. Those boys are there to bank on that.

You can do the same with your local business. Offer free drinks. Offer free cookies or other snacks. Offer some sort of retail item they can’t live without. Boast that offer on your digital sign.

The more open you are to playing the game, the more gamers (or should I say, soon-to-be new customers) will be open to you.

5) Lure ‘em In

If you own a business that feeds the masses, you might consider using what’s called a Lure app to “reel” people into your store. Pokémon Go offers a range of in-app purchases, including the Lure app.

Lure increases the rate of Pokémon generation around the area of your Poké Stop for no more than a half hour. If this doesn’t sound like it would be an effective tool, consider the comments posted on some Reddit threads as published by an article on Inc.com:

‘”We did this last night in (college town), and within minutes of dropping the lure, 30 people walked in. ..”

“…literally did this all day. I had a ton of kids and adults (mostly adults) come in for a slice of pizza and a drink until the lure ran out.”

Play with the app and give it a whirl. Lure them in. The proof is in the pizza.

6) Promote Your Pokéstop with Social Media

Some of you may be reading through this post thinking, “There are no Poké Stops in my area. Go away.”

Fret not, my friends. Fret not.

Even if your business is nowhere near a Poké Stop, you can still attract people to your business.

Use both your digital screen and your social media channels to share some of the more rare Pokémon in your area.

Thanks to Inc.com, they’ve shared a rarity chart from Reddit so business owners like yourself can find the rare Pokémon and share them with your social audience.

If you have a CMS software that allows you to display a social newsfeed, go for it. Go Pokémon crazy for a day. Put your digital sign in your window and share a Twitter newsfeed of the rarer Pokémon, perhaps some screenshots of battles, and various promotions users can take advantage of, should they stop into your place of business.

Conclusion

We often talk about software, hardware, trends, industries, and other pieces of technological importance when we talk digital signage.

Today we’re talking about one of the hottest virtual games on the planet, and how to leverage your digital signage to meet the demands of the public.

You saw how some business have profited from using apps available for Pokémon Go.

We’ve talked about different ways to use digital signage to take advantage of the craze.

Anytime a popular trend makes it’s way into our world, we would be remiss if we didn’t find a way to collaborate with it.

Pokémon Go is known for its popular catch phrase, “Gotta Catch ‘Em All!” Now you’ve got to go catch ‘em all… These ideas, that is.

Join the force. (Wait, that’s Star Wars.)
Join the battle.
Play the game.
Catch the craze.
And profit with digital signage as you go.

Are you familiar with Pokémon Go? Have you seen any digital signs taking advantage of this craze?