Do Not Pass on PokemonGo

If you own a business or property downtown, the recent trend in young crowds invading spaces, otherwise empty, could be alarming. But we are here to tell you that not only do these groups and individuals have the potential to be good for business, but they could be great for business!


This is how the critters appear in the app when players are trying to catch them. See the background? That’s our downtown!

For those of you unfamiliar with the trend, a new game was released to the Android and IOS platforms that encourages users to search for Pokemon in their area. App users congregate at historic landmarks, points of interest, and what the game calls Pokemon Gyms. The game took steam and people have been flooding the streets, including those in Downtown Lee’s Summit.

We saw businesses reacting two very different ways to the trend earlier in the week: “Get off my lawn” and “Come on in.”

The “get off my lawn” mentality is certainly an understandable reaction, but look twice at those people walking around outside your door. Those are potential customers, and the way you approach and treat them may have a huge impact on the public’s perception of you and your business. We all know that teenagers and 20-somethings are not known for their deep pockets full of disposable income, but think of all the people they know. These individuals are going to spread the word about your business via word of mouth and social media, whether it be positive or negative.

Downtown Lee's Summit is a hub of PokemonGo activity!

Downtown Lee’s Summit is a hub of PokemonGo activity!

The other approach, which we recommend, is embracing the trend. Find a way to uniquely incorporate it and welcome users of the game into your business. Own a restaurant? Make a Pokemon special. It could be something already on your menu -­ just rename it accordingly for a week and see how patrons respond. Own a retail store? Take a photo of a rare Pokemon inside your store, post it on social media, and let app users know you are Pokemon-friendly.

No matter which stance you choose, remember that every person is a potential customer or knows

someone who could be. Your time and energy are much better spent explaining what you are all about to new people who walk in your door than wasted chasing away Pickachu seekers. Have fun and be a little spontaneous! You never know what new revenue sources or streams these younger customers could unveil to you.