Pokémon Go, the free iOS and Android app that employs augmented reality and GPS technology to allow smartphone users to seek and collect Pokémon characters around real-world locations, is taking over malls and retail stores. The app, which exploded in popularity over the weekend, is driving users to stores where many Pokémon Gyms and PokéStops — locations for players to train their Pokémon or stock up on free game accessories like Pokéballs — are located.
Total Retail's Take: The influx of aspiring Pokémon masters is becoming a blessing in disguise for the malls of America, which have experienced slumping sales and foot traffic in recent years. While some stores aren't welcoming the prospect of having non-paying customers bombarding their space, others such as Nordstrom and Macy’s are embracing the invasion of gamers into their stores in hopes of driving non-Pokémon-related purchases. Furthermore, the game could provide a way for retailers to take advantage of geo-tagging, where users are targeted with specific advertisements based on their location, without dealing with the challenges of data integration and a requirement for users to opt in or compromise on some level of privacy.