Pokemon Go sets new augmented reality goals for retail

The Pokemon Go craze has finally hit our shores, as the chart topping augmented reality game was released in Singapore and 13 other South East Asian countries over the weekend – one month after its initial launch in US and Australia.

08 Sep 2016

By Letty Lee

pokemon go AR retail
The Pokemon Go craze has finally hit our shores, as the chart topping augmented reality game was released in Singapore and 13 other South East Asian countries over the weekend – one month after its initial launch in US and Australia.

For those unaware of this global phenomenon, Pokemon Go is a GPS powered, augmented reality mobile game that allows players, or Pokemon Trainers, to capture, train and battle Pokemon within their urban landscapes. The main mechanic that drives this game is the concept of PokeStops– actual places where players can visit to collect utility items to boost their game, and using “lures” that can attract more Pokemon to the vicinity to catch.

Although Pokemon Stops cannot be influenced, as they are pre-set locations, restaurants and F&B outlets can utilize “lure modules” to attract more Pokemon – and thus players, to their location. CNBC reported that a New York pizzeria saw sales rocket up to 75% in one weekend, after spending just USD$10 to purchase these “lure modules”. Many new customers came in get a few beers and catch Pokemon, all from the comforts of their seats.

Locally, malls such as ION Orchard has also embraced this game, and will be releasing hundreds of lures across the mall from the 6th to 21st of August. They have also partnered with stores to offer rewards like shopping vouchers to players. CapitaLand is also launching a similar social media promotion throughout their malls, offices and integrated developments.

Shopping malls and eateries are not the only ones that can benefit from using such tactics. Singapore wildlife parks have also jumped onto the bandwagon, releasing maps of their attractions that include locations of all the PokeStops within their parks, in hopes to attract more visitors. Times bookstore, and internet retailers MyRepublic and ViewQwest are also planning to use Pokemon lures to attract patrons, especially teenagers and children to their stores, roadshows and exhibitions.

This concept of Augmented Reality and Gamification might seem like a new thing, but has actually been rel="noopener noreferrer" around for years.  Google’s augmented reality platform, Tango, has been in existence since 2012 and retailers have used it to allow customers to overlay virtual objects on their surroundings. Users can preview what furniture would look like in their rooms, or check if the sizes would fit before making a purchase, which can be done in-store, or through e-commerce sites. The same concept can also be used to allow customers to virtually ‘try on’ different clothing or accessories, or even makeup and haircuts styles.

Gamification, or using elements of play, is another popular retail tactic to drive engagement. Even simple loyalty programs are a form of gamification, encouraging consumers to buy more, or spend more to attain higher “ranks” of loyalty cards or getting better deals. Using social media and mobile apps are particularly effective, as it encourages brand recall by getting users to spend longer periods with the app and encouraging them to use the app frequently. Much like video games, using things like goals, leader boards or sharing results on social media platforms helps bring out the competitive spirit in shoppers.

As technology advances at a tremendous pace, more retailers will need to think out of the box, and focus on better delivery methods and promotions in order to attract tomorrow’s digitally native consumers.

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