If Pokémon Go were a Retailer

Photo of Natalie Zauhar
Date: 2016-08-25 21:54:40
By: Natalie Zauhar
Date: 2016-08-25 21:54:40

My sweaty grip and jumbling phone made it harder to see what direction to run in, so I shouted out to another herd of manic trainers, “which way is the Snorlax?”

As an injured Pokémon Go Trainer, I can tell you I went great distances to catch ‘em all. And as the crazed fad has sizzled out, it has given me some time to reflect. How can retailers become the elusive Snorlax that motivated me to run 8 miles without noticing? How can local retailers be discovered like the nature park I explored behind my house? How can retailers bring people together in new ways like the strangers I befriended at Poké Stops?

If a retailer were a Snorlax, it would be a secret traveling pop-up store with extremely rare or valuable goods for a limited period of time. Its appearance would be exclusive for those who could find it but finding it would require a community. People would talk about it, its whereabouts would be speculated, and it would go viral because it would be like catching a unicorn or sighting Bigfoot.

If a retailer were a local hidden gem, it would boast about the journey it takes to get there, begging for it to be discovered by adventure seekers alike. Even if the travel weren’t far, it would reward customers with an escape from the ordinary, an “excuse” to try something new, an experience worth sharing. Local retailers aspiring to be more than a sign on the street to patrons can use their imagination to create a unique allure by giving customers something new to discover in-store and out of store. For example, imagine if your local Michaels Arts & Crafts hosted painting classes throughout your city to inspire customers to paint undiscovered pockets of culture or iconic landmarks.

If a retailer were a cult-like meet up, it would have a unique code for people to identify themselves with strangers. And it would certainly reward you for bringing more people to join. Pokémon Go was designed as a social game; meaning people only got value out of the game if they were able to connect with others over it. For brands, this means if we want to create that coveted word-of-mouth reach, we need to design experiences for social connection first.

Let’s reimagine retail from the ground up and start with defining the experience first… Ask what do people love to do, be, say, think, feel, hear, and touch? What makes them want to share an experience with everyone they meet? As retailers, we have the power to create rewarding experiences for consumers with both intrinsic and extrinsic value. Let’s inspire our customer’s aspirations and then pave the way for them to catch ‘em all.

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