Is That Pikachu in the Dairy Aisle?

Did your checkout just become a gym? The Pokémon Go frenzy is sweeping the globe as the virtual reality game has skyrocketed to the top of the iTunes and Google Play gaming lists.  Stories abound about the strange places players are showing up, improbable connections being forged and even police luring criminals to the booking room.  Nintendo’s stock has more than doubled and game spending in the U.S. alone is over $2M per day just on iOS.  The economic impact, however, is much more significant than Nintendo stock and in-app purchases. Retailers and restaurants are seeing surges in traffic and sales as players wander into the stores to capture the elusive characters. How do you, as a demand planning manager, quantify the impact Pikachu is having on sales? As a merchant, buyer, store manager or small business owner, how do you capitalize on the opportunity to grow those sales? 

How long the craze will last and how significant the long-term impact on retail are highly debatable.  However, it behooves those of us in supply chain and demand management to take notice of the impact a digital trend can have on our supply chains. Pokémon Go demonstrates a real breakthrough in the adoption of virtual reality in the mainstream. Perhaps more importantly it demonstrates how quickly a trend can catch fire in today’s digital world. In just days, Pokémon Go surpassed Twitter in terms of active daily users. How do we measure the impact of Pokémon Go on sales today, tomorrow, next week? When we look back at 2016, how do we quantify or isolate the impacts associated with the early July surge?

SNEW (Social, News, Events & Weather) is an often thrown around acronym, but to date there have only been largely isolated anecdotes highlighting the power of social networks on demand planning. The Pokémon Go phenomenon underscores the importance of including external factors in our demand plans to fully understand the influences at work. If it is any indication of the pace at which new trends can emerge, then we had better all start taking notice and building plans for making social insights a core part of our demand management processes. After all, nobody knows what the next major social impact on our businesses will be. We can, however, be confident these networks have amazing power to shape demand and thus we must put in place systems and processes to harness the insights and leverage them to shape profitable demand.

Gotta go… Charizard is at the office door!

Interested in more on the impact of SNEW on demand management?   Check out the JDA Future Series and check back here soon for additional blogs on the role of SNEW in demand management.

Some interesting reading on the topic:


  2 Comments   Comment

  1. What type of effort is required to keep up to date with the trends and fads that might be affecting retailers?

    • Hi Ed – It is a journey. Retailers can start with identifying key sources of information to which the current planning processes may be blind. A plan for sensing those sources of information is the starting point. Once some basic data is available, a small proof of concept can generally help to determine if there is something to be gained. Lastly, assuming the proof of concept demonstrates value, work toward building a repeatable process to incorporate such insights.


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