- Retailer GameStop said that sales doubled over the weekend in its 462 stores designated as PokeStops (destinations where users collect virtual items) within the wildly successful Pokemon Go augmented reality mobile game.
- GameStop CEO J. Paul Raines told CNBC that his company is a longtime licensee of Pokemon products and ranks as the world's single largest distributor of Pokemon games and collectibles.
- Pokemon Go developer Niantic Labs is planning to allow retailers and other businesses to become sponsored locations for certain in-game activities, according to recent reports.
Pokemon Go is a huge hit, and it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that one of the first retailers to experience a sales bump related to that success is GameStop. While it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to go hunting for Pokemon at a retailer like Sephora, it would seem to make a lot of sense to head to the nearest GameStop. And while you're there, why not buy some of your other favorite officially-licensed Pokemon products?
Does it make sense for other retailers to sponsor locations within the game, with the assumption that they will at least see a boost in foot traffic? Time will tell, but don't be surprised if such sponsorships produce uneven results.
For example, if a McDonald's restaurant turns into a Pokemon hunting ground, there's a good chance that some of those players moving through the store take a break for burgers and fries. But any retailer looking to piggyback on Pokemon Go's success should ask itself a simple question: Do we have products in our stores that the average Pokemon Go player would want, and might actually take a break from the game in order to purchase?
If Pokemon Go users pass through your doors, but leave without ever looking up from their phones, then using the game to lure them in will have been a wasted effort.