Pokemon Go could help businesses cash in, says Calgary Chamber

If you happen to be a restaurant or shop in the range of a Pokestop, you can lure virtual Pokemon to your area — and that could bring real people through your doors.

Shops near Pokestops have opportunity for ‘low-risk marketing’

Shops, restaurants and businesses in the range of a Pokestop can purchase a lure to attract virtual Pokemon, and prospective customers, to the area. (Laura DaSilva/CBC)

Businesses situated in and around Pokestops could have an easy, peasy marketing tool at their fingertips.

Pokestops are places highlighted on the Pokemon Go map — usually landmarks, churches or monuments — where players can collect rewards.

"If your business is lucky enough to be placed near one of these areas [Pokestops], you can really take advantage of it," said Scott Crockatt, director of marketing and communications with the Calgary Chamber.

Restaurants, cafes and shops across North America are already doing that by offering Pokemon Go players deals on food, drink and merchandise.

Bumpy's on 8 Avenue S.W. won the Pokemon Go jackpot and was randomly chosen by game developers to be an actual Pokestop.

"I totally feel like we've had some new customers," said Bumpy's manager, Claire Johnston.

A screenshot of a Pokestop situated in the Little Free Library in front of CBC Calgary. (CBC)

Lures, or lure modules

Johnson said she's considering downloading the Pokemon Go app to her personal smartphone and planting "lures" in the cafe to bring even more customers in.

Each lure, or lure module, can be purchased for a few dollars and lasts 30 minutes to attract virtual Pokemon to a Pokestop — ultimately drawing real people playing the game to the Pokestop.

Anyone in the range of the Pokestop can plant a lure — including a nearby business.

"So this is a really low-risk marketing play," Crockatt told the Calgary Eyeopener on Wednesday.

"We've heard about a businesses putting one of these out and seeing a dozen new customers, 30 new customers coming by their store, interested in their store."

If your business isn't near a Pokestop, Crockatt said you could be near a gym — which is where players come together to battle each other with their Pokemon and "see who emerges triumphant."

"We've certainly heard of lots of businesses that are experimenting with this, " he said.

"Putting out sandwich boards and keeping track of which team is winning," 

Calgary businesses are also cashing on Pokemon Go by getting active on social media and letting gamers know they're  a Pokemon Go destination.