What small businesses can learn from Pokémon Go

It looks like the most popular piece of new technology in the country right now – Pokémon Go – may be benefiting Australian businesses more than the game’s players.

Retailers around the country have seen a considerable boost in foot traffic since the game launched in 7 July.

Pokémon Go functions as a digital scavenger hunt set in the real world through augmented reality technology. Players are grouped into virtual teams and can walk around local areas, catching cartoon animals along the way.

Niantic, the game developer, is charging businesses to become pick-up spots for Pokémon. SME owners can pay a small price to have Pokémon characters “lured” into their stores, causing business to grow.

Invest in innovation

Pokémon Go’s monstrous success is down to a few simple factors: team mentality, collecting and competition.

Take inspiration from apps like Pokémon Go and think of how you can apply the strategies that are attracting customers to the app, to your business.

Most SME owners take out loans to purchase equipment. Now, putting a loan toward innovation may be a wise investment. These steps toward innovation can range from developing your own business app, running a strategic social media plan to nurture a team mentality among customers, or starting contests for long-term brand engagement.

Stay on top of what’s trending

It can be easy to live in an bubble when you’re operating an SME. The fact that you will focus steadfastly on your business and keeping it afloat is unavoidable. Trends like Pokémon Go emphasise why it’s important to stay interested in what’s going on around you.

Savvy businesses are using the game’s augmented reality platform to their advantage in creative and unique ways. And they are rewarded with boost in sales.

Every day, spend some time you can use to read the news and stay active on social media so you know what millennials are thinking about and what trends may impact your business.

Get creative with marketing

The way businesses are capitalizing on the Pokémon Go trend to get a competitive edge highlights that the best marketing is often the least generic.

Many SMEs have told the media how they are carrying out guerrilla marketing exercises at Pokémon-dense areas like virtual “gyms” and “Pokestops.”

Pokémon Go may soon fade as yet another fad but it proved that new games grounded in augmented reality technology would crop up and dominate the gaming landscape.

At first glance, this may not seem immediately relevant to Australian SMEs. Technological developments like these can have hugely positive impacts on their marketing efforts and profits if they are integrated into the business strategy.

The phenomenon that is Pokémon Go highlights the fact that businesses must be agile and adaptable to survive in 2016 and beyond.

David Brennan, CEO and founder, Kikka Capital