Pokémon Go could be great for your tire business

A PokéStop in Pokémon Go. | © Niantic

Pokémon Go could be great for your tire business

It’s the craze that’s sweeping the country, but if you don’t get what the Pokémon Go hype is about, you’re not alone. For a lot of people, especially those of focused on running a business, what amounts to a computer game is not something worth our time.

But Pokémon Go is different — and that’s because it can actively lead people to your business, which gives you the opportunity to convert them into customers.

Here’s what’s going on.

OK, so what on Earth is Pokémon Go?

In the briefest of possible terms, Pokémon Go is a smartphone app-based game that encourages players to get outdoors to track down and collect imaginary cartoon creatures called Pokémon.

It’s a really clever app, actually. The real world is mapped out in a cartoonish style on players’ screens — so they see streets and neighborhood blocks and so on. Alternatively, it can use the player’s camera so it looks like the Pokémon caricatures are appearing in the real world. The app tracks the player’s location using the phone’s GPS capabilities, just like Google Maps.

Yeah, but how is this good for my business?

Stay with us, we’re getting there.

Part of the Pokémon game involves something called a “PokéStop.” Without getting too technical, this is a central place where really exciting things happen for game players. They can be anywhere — by a monument in the town square or outside a local business.

This is where the opportunity arises.

Businesses can pay the app a fee to attract game players to their store. It can cost up to $10 daily to purchase “lures” — items the game players are chasing — that will attract foot traffic to your location.

stop pokemon

A PokéStop in Pokémon Go.

Why would I want a heap of kids outside my tire store?

Here’s the thing — it’s not just kids. Tens of thousands of adults across the U.S. are playing Pokémon Go., especially those in their twenties and thirties who grew up with Pokémon when they were big the first time around in the 1990s. While these folks might be out and about on foot enjoying reliving their childhood, they probably also have cars parked in their garage at home.

While they’re at your store, you have the potential to create fantastic brand recognition and goodwill.

What should I do to capitalize on Pokémon Go?

While they’re at your store, offer them discount vouchers for tires or servicing. Associate your brand with Pokémon’s brand by mentioning it clearly on the voucher.

Let them into your store to use the bathroom or offer them water or a cup of coffee — it’s great good will. Let them charge their cell phones in your customer waiting area (Pokémon Go really depletes batteries) or giveaway portable USB phone chargers (for example these Powerbank Chargers) with your branding on them.

Leverage it in your advertising — especially your website and social media. The folks playing Pokémon Go are definitely digitally connected, so this is a great place to reach them.

Have a sense of humor about it but keep safety the first principle. You could, for instance, put up a sign out front welcoming players but letting them know they can’t go on the shop floor to catch a Pokémon, even if it’s a Pikachu. “Alert our staff and they’ll catch it for you. (Unless they spot it first!)”… that sort of thing.

poke characters

Examples of Pokémon characters that users are trying to collect.

It’s not for everyone, but it might well be for you

Fads this big come along only every so often but rarely has it been so easy for every business to get on board. Turning your business into a PokéStop won’t be for everyone, but businesses already taking part are reporting players are spending money with their businesses.

You can read more about it here.

If you go ahead and turn your dealership into a PokéStop, let us know what kind of success you have.

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