So, it’s finally happened—Pokémon Go has hit Singapore. Life as you know it will never be the same again (or at least, for the 3 months the fad lasts). Let’s hope that’s not because you suffer life-altering injuries after that accident because you insisted on playing while driving.
And of course, as expected, businesses have wasted no time in using the game to lure customers and make more money. If you’re more interested in finding ways to make a Gastly amount of cash than increasing the number of Pokémon on your list, here’s how to profit from the game:
1. Lure people to your business
Even before Pokémon actually hit our shores, scores of businessmen were already plotting to use lures to to get people into their shops. How you do this is simple: you activate lures, which will then attract lots of Pokémon to your area for half an hour. The idea is that customers will wander into your shop in order to catch Pokémon and then hopefully buy something.
In practice, this seems to work better for F&B establishments. People are more likely to buy a drink so they can occupy a seat in a bar or cafe and catch all the Pokémon that pop up than they are to suddenly decide to buy a random retail item when they can just stand in or outside the retail stores to catch Pokémon without spending a cent.
Then there’s fact that Pokémon Go doesn’t work as well for businesses in high rise buildings. If your cafe or bar is on the ground floor of a shophouse, you have a much better shot of attracting people to it than if it’s on the 5th floor of some shopping mall. Pokémon are detected by GPS, which doesn’t take height into account.
Organise Pokémon Go events
Part of the allure of Pokémon Go is the social element. Somehow, when your eyes meet those of someone else who’s walking with his phone stretched out in front of him, or you knowingly cross paths with someone who’s collecting Pokéballs at the same Pokéstop, that icy Singaporean exterior melts and you actually start talking to each other, without the help of the Social Development Unit!
Businesses can organise Pokémon Go events on their premises to bring people together and, well, to spend money. Overseas, there have already been big group hunts in parks and botanic gardens.
Businesses with large premises, such as paintball fields, or groups of businesses in a large area, such as the restaurants in the East Coast Park area, can band together to organise mass hunts—after which participants are free to buy discounted food and drinks at the organising establishments.
Actually, people are already starting to exploit the game’s potential for being at the centre of mass gatherings. The PokeMonDate event by the Singapore River costs $15 to participate in and will feature lots of lures, as well as portable battery chargers for trainers.
Dangle discounts that encourage trainers to spend
Some F&B and retail stores are offering Pokémon Go trainers discounts, just so they’ll come in and buy something, anything. For instance, some businesses have been offering discounts to players with accounts or people who take a photo of a Pokémon caught in-store.
Fish & Co recently offered a 10% discount to trainers at level 5 and above. Until 14 Aug, Resorts World Sentosa is offering 10% off one-day passes to SEA Aquarium and Universal Studios if you submit screenshots of 5 Pokémon captured on their premises.
Offer products tailored to trainers
Sure, Pokémon Go is a free game, but that doesn’t mean people won’t be willing to spend money at some point in order to get better at the game.
There is a lot of potential for sellers of mobility devices to promote their products to Pokémon Go trainers. I’ve already seen quite a few people cruising around town on their electronic unicycles, while glued to their smartphones.
That’s because in order to hatch their eggs, Pokemon trainers must move at speeds of less than 15km/h. That means you can’t just hop onto the MRT or into a car and go round and round Singapore in order to hatch those eggs. You need to either walk or rely on bicycles, kick scooters and so on. Anyone who finds a way to attach the mobile phone to the device while keeping the game activated will definitely make a bit of money.
Sell Pokemon-related merchandise
Most heartland malls have one of those shops selling cutesy plush toys. You know the kind, they’re filled with one-eyed Minions. Now that the Poke crazy has really taken off in Singapore, these folks get to pull out their old merchandise from 1998, and start hawking all those Pikachu stuffed toys and Bulbasaur figurines once again.
Some time back, people were making a quick buck on Carousell by selling Neko Atsume-related merchandise. We’re pretty sure nobody’s playing that game anymore now that Pokémon Go’s out, so it’s time to replace those kitty cushions and cellphone covers with Charmander stickers and Pidgey toilet seat covers.
Have you observed any businesses around you trying to use Pokémon Go to make money for themselves? Share your stories in the comments!