If you hadn’t noticed, gamers are taking to the streets, to businesses and even oceans to catch creatures called Pokémon in what’s become the first hit augmented reality game -- Nintendo’s Pokémon Go.
In this massive virtual scavenger hunt, users’ mobile devices vibrate when they come close to Pokémon dragons, rats and more. Players then throw a Pokéball at a virtual creature to ‘catch it.’ The goal is to catch all 150.
Users can also “lure” Pokémon to PokéStops in towns nationwide, for 30 minutes -- making the Pokémon available to all gamers in the area. Players will also look for “gyms,” which is where people take their Pokémon to battle.
Nintendo isn’t the only company making money off of the game though. For some local businesses, this game is attracting Pokémon-crazed customers -- and their money. Want to capitalize on the excitement? Download the app and get ready to get creative. Meanwhile, here are some of the strategies small businesses have already put into place.
Join the game
Joyride Nashville -- a Tennessee service that takes people on tours through the city -- created a special Pokémon Go Tour once it noticed more customers asking to be taken to specific landmarks to catch Pokémon along the way. The company says it booked seven tours in 24 hours, bringing in $45 a person.
Utah clothing shop iconoCLAD discovered its location was actually a Pokéstop. It moved quickly, posting a sign outside the shop saying “Gotta catch ‘em all, in style,” and shared photos of the sign on social media. The simple whiteboard sign has already been featured on Forbes and Money.
If you find your location is a Pokéstop, you can go one step further. Download the app and screenshot pictures of the Pokémon in your store, showing players which characters they can find there. Later, encourage players to post their own photos -- and tag your store.
Give players a boost
Huge, an ad agency owned by IPG in Atlanta, is using a coffee shop to experiment with the Pokémon Go craze as a marketing platform. The coffeehouse is located between two Pokéstops. As the game “lures” Pokémon to the stops -- in turn, lures Pokémon Go players to the cafe. Since the game’s use of GPS drains batteries quickly, the shop is conveniently providing 25 phone charging stations and a free steamed bun appetizer for customers who catch a Pokémon inside its store.
Related: 8 Weird Reasons Pokémon Go Isn't the Game Craze We're Used To
Cast your own lure
L’inizio, a pizza bar in New York. Spent a mere $10 on lure modules in the location, according to the New York Post. That following weekend, sales rose 75 percent.
Want to do this yourself? Once you have downloaded the app, you can determine the nearest Pokéstops to your business. Once you know where they are, you can lure more players to the location by using the lure module, which makes Pokémon abundant in that area for 30 minutes. Each lure costs $1.Have you caught the fever yet? Share your own stories with us on social media.