Pokémon may not be the most fashionable reference, but thanks to the wildfire popularity of Nintendo’s new Pokémon Go app, the ’90s franchise is now aligned with some of your favorite stores. The app, explained in full on Vox.com, has brought the card game to life by placing users in the position of Pokémon trainers tasked with catching and training as many of the fictional creatures as possible. But rather than resigning you to your smartphone, players are required to explore the real world (gasp!) in order to, well, catch ’em all.
As Racked pointed out, the game has transformed not just local landmarks into so-called Pokémon Gyms and PokéStops (the former for training, the latter for replenishing your Poké Balls, natch) but businesses, too. Some especially Poké-heavy spots include mall-favorite stores like Forever 21, Sephora, and H&M, giving the local shopping centers a welcome customer boost. But it seems that nowhere is off-limits in the world of Pokémon Go, with stores ranging from Bloomingdale’s to the resale store Beacon’s Closet reporting a Poké-presence.
Brands seem torn over whether or not this is a good thing, but as Jason Evangelho writes for Forbes, the game has the potential to be a real boon for business. Sure, not everyone who stops in to catch a creature will also buy something, but it certainly increases the likelihood of a purchase. After all, that Krabby users are after could be resting atop the perfect pair of jeans or an off-the-shoulder top they didn’t know they needed until he drew them to it.
The game does run the risk of crowding stores, but it also brings with it free advertising (see: endless social media posts) and heightened attention on your brand. That and it’s lighthearted and fun, a perfect match for shopping itself (and one that’s especially appreciated given the state of the world in recent weeks).
What other stores have you caught Pokémon in? Let us know in the comments, and shop our favorite phone cases to catch ’em all in style!