Electronics retailers, seeing sales bump, tap into Pokemon Go frenzy

Wed Jul 20, 2016 12:24pm EDT
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By Jessica Toonkel

(Reuters) - Electronics and smart-phone retailers are seeing a jump in sales of mobile charging equipment since Pokemon GO was released in the United States two weeks ago and are now looking for more ways to drive potential customers into stores through the wildly popular game.

AT&T Inc (T.N: Quote), GameStop Corp (GME.N: Quote) and RadioShack are all seeing a bump in sales of mobile chargers and in some cases charging cases since the game went live on July 6, with GameStop reporting a 45 percent jump in sales and Radio Shack seeing a 50 percent increase, executives told Reuters.

Encouraged by the early boost in sales, the retailers are using social media, free charging stations, and even old-fashioned lemonade stands to draw nearby gamers into their stores.

The augmented reality game from Japan's Nintendo Co Ltd (7974.T: Quote), where players walk around real-life neighborhoods to hunt down virtual cartoon characters visible only on their smartphone screens, had more than 65 million users in the U.S. just seven days after it debuted.

While the game is not yet open to consumer brands looking to advertise in alternate reality, GameStop, RadioShack and Sprint Corp (S.N: Quote) are finding ways to capitalize on the frenzy around the game to get players into their stores. It's no small feat at a time when brick and mortar retailers are struggling to compete with the likes of Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O: Quote).

For retailers like RadioShack, which has been testing beacons in some stores to send passersby texts about a promotion, Pokemon could present an alternative, said Michael Tatelman, RadioShack’s chief revenue and marketing officer.

The question, however, is will the frenzy last, Tatelman asked.

"There is something great about 'go in and chase this monster into your store,'" he said. "The question is will it stay compelling," said Tatelman.   Continued...

The augmented reality mobile game "Pokemon Go" by Nintendo is shown on a smartphone screen in this photo illustration taken in Palm Springs, California U.S. July 11, 2016.  REUTERS/Sam Mircovich/Illustration