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Retailers using Pokemon Go craze to catch customers

Reporter: Li Jiejun 丨 CCTV.com

08-04-2016 17:08 BJT

The augmented reality game Pokemon Go launched in Hong Kong in late July and has already caught fire. Shops, bars and hotels are cashing in on the craze to attract players to their businesses. Retail sales have increased, with the boom expected to last for another few months.

Hunting Pokemons - that's what Hong Kong people are crazy for right now. Just as in other places around the world, the augmented reality game has taken the city by storm.

And it’s proved to be not only a success for game developers, but also an opportunity for retailers. In this ice-cream shop, people can get 5 percent off if they catch a monster in the surrounding area. It's a fantastic way to draw in customers.

"We want to enjoy this Pokemon trend with everyone. So we provide discounts to customers who have caught Pokemon. As you see, the street is busier than usual," said Celeste Tam, Givres.

Quite a lot of restaurants and bars are offering similar promotions. And many large malls are quick to join in too. Some have installed Lure Modules, which can attract Pokemons, and thus Pokemon Go players and shoppers.

"We launched lure modules in our six major shopping malls. We bought the module and announced that here you could catch very rare Pokemon characters, as well shopping privileges. For the past several days, foot traffic has increased by 5 percent," said Andrea T. S. Leung, deputy GM of Sino Land Company.

Many shopping malls provide free wifi and electricity chargers for people hunting for monsters.

If customers spend enough, some shopping centers will offer private cars to drive them along a route full of Pokemon stops.

"The people visiting malls have increased by double digits, maybe 10 to 12 percent. And sales may increase by 8 percent, which is fantastic news, HK's economy on the retail respective has been troubled for the last few months. Anything that would help Hong Kong is well received. Some areas in retail will benefit more than other. Food and beverage will definitely benefit most," said Sandro Hinds, associate director of Retail Depart., JLL.

Experts say the game brings opportunities everyone wants to seize. Private car hailing services are offering discounts to Pokemon fans. Airline companies are encouraging customers to buy tickets so they can catch all the monsters in Asia.

Some mobile phone operators offer customers free unlimited data to play the game. Pokemon Go has heated up the city’s business this summer vacation.

Pokemon Go has shaken up Hong Kong's retail industry, which has struggled for months. The craze may not be lasting, but many expect to catch at least another month or two of action.

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