Since the launch of the augmented-reality game Pokémon Go, there's been a lot of buzz about how small businesses can use the game to their advantage. Now, after more than a month since Pokémon Go first launched in the U.S., market research shows that the hype is real: Pokémon Go really is bringing in more customers and boosting sales for many small businesses.
The first survey that demonstrates the bump given to businesses by Pokémon trainers comes from Revel Systems, which builds mobile point-of-sale systems for iPads. The data Revel collected comes from the company's clients that have PokéStops nearby, and it demonstrates an increase in foot traffic, gross sales and total customers. Here's what Revel found:
- Eighty-two percent of businesses with nearby PokéStops reported an average 9 percent increase in weekly foot traffic.
- Sixty-three percent of businesses with nearby PokéStops increased their weekly sales by an average of 12 percent.
- The average increase in weekly gross sales totaled more than $2,000 per business.
- Those businesses also reported an average increase of 265 weekly customers.
The mantra "gotta catch 'em all" has helped small business owners capture more customers and boost revenue, according to Revel's research.
"If I were a store owner with a PokéStop nearby and I was attempting to increase traffic at a specific point in the day, I'd activate a Pokémon lure on the PokéStop," Chris Ciabarra, co-founder and CTO of Revel Systems, said. "Lures attract Pokemon for 30 minutes, and can significantly increase traffic, which is especially good to use during slow times. It's an easy and cost-effective way to use technology to your advantage. Instead of trying to reinvent the wheel to increase sales, you are using what you have access to in order to generate results."
In addition to Revel System's research, the Slant marketing agency conducted a survey of 500 Pokémon Go players to find out more about how they interact with businesses while out hunting for Pokémon. Their findings reinforce the reporting by small businesses and suggest that Pokémon Go is leading players to patronize small, local businesses they otherwise might not visit.
Slant Marketing found that most Pokémon trainers play from 1 to 3 hours each day, most prominently during weekday evenings and weekend afternoons. The survey found that while these players were out and about, they were far more likely to visit a local business, particularly restaurants. [See Related Story: 4 Ways to Put Pokémon Go to Work for Your Business]
- Eighty-two percent of players have visited a business while playing.
- Fifty-one percent have visited a particular business for the first time.
- Seventy-one percent of players who visited a business did so because of a nearby PokéStop or Pokémon gym.
- Sixty-eight percent of players who visited a business did so because a Pokémon lure had been placed nearby.
- Forty-eight percent of players who visited a business with a Pokémon lure reported staying for an average of 30 minutes or more.
- On average, players who made purchases spent $11.30 at the businesses they visited while playing.
- Thirty-three percent of players said they visited businesses "a couple times per week," while 18 percent said they visited businesses daily.
- Fifty-six percent of players reported visiting local businesses more than national chains.
"Whenever we see new technologies — or existing technologies used in new ways — in our culture, we look for how we can engage consumers to interact with brands," said Chris McGuire, VP and general manager of Slant. "That search starts by finding out how consumers are currently interacting with brands/businesses using the new technology, which is why we were excited to conduct the survey of Pokémon Go users.
"We hope its results will allow business owners to better understand players and how they can use it to help engage customers with their brand.”
Whether Pokémon Go's popularity will persist is unclear, but the market research demonstrates that entrepreneurs have benefited from the craze thus far. So long as there are Pokémon trainers hungry to be the very best, small business owners should continue to use the game in creative ways to attract more customers.