The Hottest Way to Catch Customers this Summer Is . . . Pokemon?

Date: July 14, 2016 Last Edit: July 21, 2016

Savvy small business owners have been cashing in on the app that’s sweeping the world.

Gotta catch ‘em all! At least, that’s the mindset of the millions of smartphone-wielding pedestrians hunting around their cities for hours on end while using Pokemon Go, Nintendo’s new app that’s now the biggest mobile game in U.S. history.

Pokemon Go incorporates augmented reality to let users walk through their real-world environments and capture wild creatures—known as Pokemon—that appear on their phone screens. With more daily active users than Twitter, Pokemon Go isn’t just making bank for Nintendo; small business owners across the country have realized how this craze can boost their bottom lines, too. 

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Business owners have been interacting with the game in a few ways. For example, owners can spend $1 to purchase lures, which attract Pokemon—and more importantly, potential customers—to their businesses for 30 minutes, according to Macworld. A few lucky businesses haven’t had to do much at all because they’re located near a Pokestop in the game—popular places players visit to replenish their items and gain experience points. 

Other businesses have started advertising the presence of Pokemon at their stores on social media to nab players and boost sales. Grind Coffee House in Diamond Bar, California, for example, has promised to drop a new lure for every 15 drinks purchased at their store. GrassLands Brewing Company in Tallahassee, Florida, is organizing a Pokemon Go bar crawl on July 15 to take advantage of the app’s popularity, PC Magazine reported. 

The results of this advertising have been spectacular for some. 

New York City pizzeria L’inizio’s Pizza Bar reported a 30 percent bump in sales for a typical weekend after the manager began buying lures for the restaurant, Bloomberg reported. Others have seen similar results. 

“We’ve had a nonstop flow of people coming in, and sales are through the roof,” Nicole Spirito, general manager of Flying Saucer Pizza in Salem, Massachusetts, told Bon Appétit. 

For the most part, it seems that Pokemon Go players don’t mind contributing to local businesses in their pursuit to be the best Pokemon trainer.

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