Using augmented reality to drive business: Can Pokémon Go gain you new members?

Pokémon GO has barely celebrated its one month birthday, and already marketers in all segments of industry are eyeing its potential to drive business, attract new customers, increase revenue. For anyone who has managed to escape the news, a new game app for iPhone and Android was released in July, based on a 1990’s television, was downloaded by 95 million phones in the first week alone, and is generating $1.6 million a day in in-app purchases (that number is expected to double each week for the foreseeable future) – making Pokémon GO the single most successful app by several measures. The app requires the player physically walk around to find and capture the cartoon creatures displayed on the screens of their phones (called augmented reality).

And with that success comes all kinds of businesses looking to use this phenomenon to drive foot traffic, and hopefully get the players to stop and buy something IRL (in real life). For example Busch Gardens in Tampa created several Pokémon Gyms (where one joins other players and battles for points) and PokéStops (places to find and catch Pokémon) and advertised heavily in social media to get paid admissions on an otherwise not busy summer Saturday. An outlet mall in Phoenix offered a limited deal on its Facebook page to post screenshots of Pokémon in the mall, for a mall-specific $10 gift card.

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