Businesses use Pokemon Go to catch customers

Businesses in Illinois are quickly figuring out how to profit from the popular Pokemon Go game.

Only a couple weeks after its release, Pokemon Go has become the most popular mobile-phone game in history. Survey Monkey reports that it passed Candy Crush with 21 million daily users.

Three days after its July 6 release, the app Pokemon Go had become more popular than social media giant Twitter’s app and streaming movie service Netflix’s mobile app.

The game sends the player outdoors in search of Pokemon, fictional creatures from a popular video game and cartoon, to capture and fight against other players for control of geographic markers called “gyms.” Players choose one of three “factions” when they start and play to assert their faction’s control over the locations.

Businesses are finding the game a useful tool to bring in customers.

Jeff Sievers with Top Cut Comics in Loves Park has been using the game to bring customers into his store and said he can’t believe the traffic he’s seen. He said the in-game “lures” that draw the Pokemon that people are trying to catch are cheap and incredibly effective. He said it costs his business often less than $20 per day to greatly increase foot traffic.

“I thought it would be big,” he said. “I had no idea it would be quite this big.”

A number of other businesses around Rockford have seen an uptick in foot traffic after signing onto the app, owners told The Times over the weekend.

McLean County Chamber of Commerce Marketing Manager and avid Pokemon Go player Jonathan Strupek made a guide for local businesses to use in-game purchases to lure in players.

“You can run these lures and attract players and say, ‘Come on in. We’ve got what you need and what you’re playing for; and while you’re here, see what we’ve got and get some discounts,’” he said.

The Chicago Tribune reports climate-change group Next-Gen Climate Illinois lured in players to a voter registration and outreach event last weekend in Chicago using in-game purchases. A number of Chicagoland bars and restaurants have already seen success with Pokemon-centric deals aimed to bring in new customers.

–Illinois News Network; Staff reports

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