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Indian retailers tap Pokemon Go

News, 22 July 2016

MUMBAI: Indian retailers are seeking to capitalise on Pokémon Go by buying location-based incentives as the mobile gaming phenomenon continues to sweep the globe.

Even though the game is not yet officially available in India, Indian consumers are already downloading the game file online from internet sources and meeting up to hunt Pokémon in metro Mumbai.

Players capture Pokémon on a customised version of Google Maps, navigating to their nearby locations by using the GPS function of their smartphones.

Retailers dependent on footfall are looking into how they can tap into the numbers searching for Pokémon near their stores. It appears they are in luck: app developer Niantic revealed to the Financial Times last week that allowing brands to sponsor locations is one of its in-app monetisation plans.

And McDonald's has now been confirmed as the first advertiser to test this feature when Pokémon Go launches in Japan.

Already in India, mall chains are considering their options.

"An entire generation of kids that has grown up watching Pokémon is an active shopper at the moment," said Amaan Fakih, CEO/Malls at Runwal Group. 


"This is essentially a competitive game, and we can use this very platform of competition to give away several goodies, prizes and offers to customers," he told MoneyControl, the CNBC-owned financial information source.

But some retailers are unconvinced that increased footfall driven by Pokémon hunters will impact sales.

"Whether the players will take their eyes off the screen long enough to browse the collections in the store and buy something is yet to be seen," mused Srinivasa Rao, VP/Marketing at Lifestyle International.


"It would make sense to have special merchandise or offers that excites the Pokémon Go trainers' community to tap into the craze and pull them in their stores."

Data sourced from MoneyControl, Ad News; additional content by Warc staff