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Is Pokemon GO The Saving Grace for the Brick and Mortar Business?

In a seemingly all-encompassing digital world, people are more connected than ever.  With just a click of a button, you can find out which one of your High School classmates had a baby this week, or got engaged last week.  The days of surprise or anticipation are nearly over.  With as much information as you can digest at your fingertips, the ability for the public to exercise patience are getting thinner and thinner.

Fast-forward to the modern business.  With companies like Amazon, Facebook, Netflix, and ebay existing, the local Brick and Mortar business has been taking hits year after year.  Fortunately, there have been those who have contacted companies like 561Media.com, and have shifted their business model to fall in line with the digital atmosphere.  Reducing overhead, and strictly selling product online is one way that most local retail businesses have been managing to expand margin and stay afloat.  

Fast forward to about a week ago, Nintendo and Niantic, an American Software company, release Pokemon GO.  The debut couldn’t have been any bigger.  Nintendo saw a spike in their stocks, and it seemed like everyone and their Mother’s were using the new mobile game.  Overall, this game is a game changer for so many different reasons; it’s encouraging people of all ages to get out of the house and explore your neighborhood, it influences new person-to-person connections, and it attracts people to certain landmark destinations through an in-game feature called “PokeStops”.  Pokestops are a feature within the game that allow you to collect usable items to help improve your overall gaming experience.  Yes, there are pay-to-play features, but if you’re on a budget and don’t like to spend money on in-app purchases, visiting these stops are virtually the only way to continue gameplay.

So why does this matter to businesses?  Well, based on the market trend, and the price of Nintendo’s stock jumping up over 12% in the last 5 days, investors are seeing limitless potential to monetize this game on multiple different levels.  The game is still very new, and Niantic promises to rollout several innovative features as it evolves (pun intended).  One of those features that everyone seems to be inquiring about is, “How can my business sign up to be a in-game destination (Pokestop)?”  It’s without a doubt that Nintendo and Niantic will jump on this opportunity, but at what level?  The game certainly requires a balance, so how can they effectively open the doors to this type of advertising while not flooding the game and jeopardizing the user’s overall experience?  The company has yet to address this, as I’m certain they are deliberating on this matter internally to approach this in a way that’s best for both business and the player.

There’s undoubtedly an untapped market potential here for the brick and mortar business.  If companies are able to register as an in-game location, it will certainly influence and attract more foot traffic and hopefully lead to new/more business.

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