Niantic to Small Businesses: No PokéStop or Gym for You

Pokémon GO has the power to get people off the couch, and outside walking about. It also has the power to transform a small business overnight. Across the globe small businesses are reporting massive surges of business driven by Pokémon GO players. Why? Their business was identified as a PokéStop or Gym, drawing players from near and far. And, many of those visits ended up in new transactions for the business. Why were they there? To collect items in the augmented reality (AR) game or battle at the gym, of course!

Applying to be a PokéStop or Gym

Next, businesses (and people) learned that you could request your business (or any other location) become a PokéStop or Gym. How? By visiting the Pokémon GO troubleshooting page on Niantic’s site and simply requesting it. Well, that option has left as quickly as it was made available. As of yesterday, the Niantic page for GO has removed the PokéStop and Gym request functionality from the troubleshooting site.

So, what’s an enterprising, hopeful small business to do? As far as the game itself goes, for now, there isn’t much you can do. It is unclear whether the game’s creator will resume accepting requests in the future. If you read into what’s on the page where you previously made these requests, you might conclude that it’s likely the will not. Here’s what you’ll find on that page:

Reporting PokéStop or Gym Issues

Please note, we are currently not accepting submissions for new PokéStops or Gyms.

If you are having trouble finding PokéStops or Gyms near you, please try visiting a local park or other interesting or historical locations in your community.

Report game problems with a Pokéstop or Gym

Request removal of a PokéStop or Gym

For partnerships inquiries, please email partnerships@nianticlabs.com.

It’s that last statement that might have one conclude that future PokéStops and Gyms will be a financial arrangement between a business (or location) and Niantic.

What can a Small Business Do?

As we mentioned earlier, there isn’t much of anything a small business could do to influence Niantic to start accepting applications again. But, that doesn’t mean there isn’t anything that can be done to participate in the craze, and hopefully generate some business.

A recent article on the Inc. website provided some great ideas on how a business can still profit from the game. The ideas included the following tactics:

  • Ground marketing to those passing by on their way to a nearby Gym or PokéStop
  • Creating location-based social media campaigns
  • Amplifying traffic to a Gym or PokéStop (once your campaign plans are up and running) with lures

The article may serve best as starter-ideas for your internal or external marketing team. With a little creativity, small businesses can participate, and even profit from the craze, even if they’re not a Gym or PokéStop.

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