If you noticed far more people engrossed in their smart phones while walking through neighborhoods or strip malls this weekend, it wasn’t just your imagination – it was Pokemon Go, the new augmented reality game that uses location-based technology to allow users to catch, train and battle with Pokemon as they walk through their real-world environment.
Just 5 hours after its release on July 7, Pokemon Go became the most popular iPhone app in the United States. According to July 10 data from SimilarWeb, it will only take a couple more days before Pokemon Go hits as many Daily Active Users as Twitter.
This is a phenomenon anyone who does anything online should pay attention to. After watching my kids, their friends, and even my husband get caught up in the real-world Pokemon hunt over the past 96 hours, I’ve noticed some of the basic elements of the game that are making it very popular, very fast. And I think that these same principles are key to succeeding in retail.
Beyond these basic principles, there are other reasons for retailers to pay attention to Pokemon Go. Many store fronts have Pokemon assigned to their GPS coordinates, and you can only catch these Pokemon by walking near the store. Imagine the possible tie-ins with promotions.
We’ve said this is the year of virtual reality, and that online shopping experiences will soon involve more of it. Pokemon Go is yet another way that the online world is merging with reality, and the possibilities for retailers are exciting.