Pokémon Go or no?

Pokemon Go is an augmented reality game created by Nintendo using a smartphone’s GPS and camera to find hidden graphics. Launched in the US, Australia and New Zealand in early July, it is now being rolled out in parts of Asia. In brief, a player turns the world into a hunting ground through their camera. The player’s avatar is displayed on a live map in real time. While looking at the map or a live view, different characters appear. The goal is to capture them. PokeStops are visited to receive game accessories and PokeGyms train and battle pokemon. These places must be visited in real life and are scattered nearly everywhere. Enthusiasts point out that the game sends young people outside where they get exercise and fresh air, something gamers rarely experience. Critics relate hundreds of stories about people so engrossed in looking at their phones that they walked into traffic and walls, and even fell off cliffs. There are also cases of Pokemon Go-related car accidents.

So what does this game have to do with jewellery? For starters, luxury Swiss watchmaker, RJ Romain Jerome, plans a limited edition of 20 Pokémon DNA watches to be released later this year. Last year, they released a Super Mario Bros. watch and sold out a limited run of 85 at US$13,000 each.

Retail businesses are cashing in on Pokémania as well. For a very small fee, Lure Modules can be purchased that attracts Pokemon to a nearby location for a 30-minute period. Some retailers report high traffic counts during this time. You can sponsor Poke lure parties coupled with special deals to take advantage of the increased traffic.

But is it for you? This game primarily attracts younger players and children. This may not be an appropriate demographic for a high-end jeweller. But keep in mind, the kids are often accompanied by parents so there may still be selling opportunities. If you sell a lot of inexpensive, kid-friendly jewellery, this may be a good marketing concept.

If you want to ride the Pokemania wave without actively participating in the game, there are still some options. A line of Poke-inspired jewellery may be a good seller. Do it now and do it fast because no one knows how long this fad will last.

If you plan to develop a high-tech shopping experience with your own, in-house augmented reality as I discussed in previous articles, you can take a lesson from the Pokemon phenomenon by creating a treasure hunt in your store. Your customers can use their phones to find special virtual coins or symbols hidden in your showcases that are good for prizes or discounts.

Pokemon may be a game and it may be short-lived but it demonstrates the power of augmented reality. Download the app, give it a look and see what kind of ideas you can create to incorporate this technology into your business.

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