Pokemon Go is giving THE boost to Augmented Reality that it had been waiting for, for all these years. Apart from enraging the few millions like me from the countries that were not part of the initial launch of this heavily-sought-after game, Pokemon Go has, according to me, huge potential for Retailers – if leveraged right, that is.

John Hanke, the CEO of Niantic, mentioned just a day ago that there may be ongoing discussions with retailers to sponsor locations on the game. Read more here – http://www.cnet.com/news/pokemon-go-said-to-be-getting-retail-sponsored-locations/ 

This itself is a testament that retailers are just dying to leverage the game to up their Augmented Reality strategy. Instore apps and location-based offers have long been in play within stores but the adoption on the customer side has been a cause of concern with retailers and with the game, they already have a band of people using an app that they plan to leverage.

The game itself has brought about so many stories of complete strangers actually meeting at public locations to collaborate and get ahead in the game which must be encouraging retailers to explore the option even further. After all, a potential customer is nothing short of a stranger to them.

Come to think of it, retailers already have a head start. They have the data and they have the segmentation of customers ready. All they need is a plan to ensure that they get it right, down to the minutest detail, in case they ever go in for such an ambitious venture. They have the data that they have been collecting for all these years which just might be put to use to ride the wave of Pokemon Go:

  • What do I offer at what time in which store?
  • How will I leverage my existing data and coordinate with data provided by the app to ensure optimum mapping of my customers?
  • Will disturbing an engrossed gamer with an in-app advertisement be adverse to my plan?
  • Or should I just play it safe and offer in-app purchase discounts to my regular shoppers (this I feel could be the easiest to implement).

These, I feel, would be the first questions that pop up in a planner’s mind.

Companies like Nike who already have a wearables strategy in place, can come out trumps in this kind of scenario as they may have data that is even more relevant as compared to other sportswear brands in terms of geolocation etc. Sportswear brands which don’t have wearables data won’t lag behind much though. I could be a sportswear brand with global locations and I could just start a simple offer of discount on shoes in regions that have predictable weather. But at the same time, I could look at weather predictions and offer discounts on windcheaters at certain times, at locations like London, where the rains are unpredictable.

This will obviously not be as rosy as I may have presented it to be, and below are some of the cons that came to mind:

  • Making sure you have the relevant stock at stores during offers needs a really robust backend system
  • The marketing teams and the business teams need to work in tandem to run this
  • Analysis of data has to be crystal clear to be absolutely relevant to this ‘socially-enabled target segment

The only advice this avid gamer can give with absolute conviction is this – PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE get your plans and offers right before you disturb a gamer. God forbid, if I ever get a pop-up while trying to capture a Pokemon, be assured that the person is never going to forgive your brand.

The above views are some thoughts that rushed through my mind after hearing a possible sponsoring of locations by retailers within the game.

I would really like to hear thoughts from my network on what else is possible and what could be the pros and cons of jumping in to leverage a trend. Looking forward to hearing from all of you.

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Posted by Arjun Pawar

One Comment

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    Interesting “happenings”. I am far from being a avid gamer, leave alone a gamer. I am amazed at what can technology get humans do. While all this is great and innovative, I keenly look forward to technology help humans get closer to understanding their existence rather than get weaned away from it. Do you see movement on that front ?

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