Are you a small-to-medium-sized company? Are you looking to give customers an inside, 360-degree look at your business and inventory?
Technology continues to change the way companies and shoppers interact. Yet, even in the age of the digital e-commerce shop, consumers still crave the interaction of a brick-and-mortar storefront.
In fact, a recent survey found that 85% of customers still prefer the physical store experience. The reason? They can see and feel products before they buy them.
Now, you can mimic an in-store experience via a 360-degree virtual tour, a feature available through Google My Business.
Today, we're breaking down the ins and outs of these tours. In a nutshell, they allow you to provide online customers with the same interactive, engaging shopping experience they'd have while inside your store.
Sound like a feature you'd like to add? Let's get started!
Google My Business: A Brief Overview
Before we break down the application's virtual tour capabilities, it's important to understand what Google My Business is, and how it can help your company.
Google My Business is an online directory where business owners can post information about their company. A solid profile on the site can increase web traffic and optimize your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) ranking).
Data is customizable. You can choose to include basic information such as your phone number and operating hours. Or, you can upload photos and videos that allow customers an up-close view of your products and services.
Listing on Google My Business helps get your business noticed. You'll show up in Google search results and on Google maps. You'll also be notified when someone online mentions your name, aiding customer engagement efforts.
For companies wanting to get the most out of their Google My Business capabilities, virtual tours are an excellent fit. Companies can set up a virtual tour as a part of their listing. This means that by clicking on the company name, a customer can actually recreate the experience of walking into the store off the street
So how do you add this functionality to your business profile? Let's check it out.
From Street View to Inside Look: Getting Started
Chances are, you're familiar with Google Street View.
For more than 10 years, this Google Maps feature has allowed users an up-close-and-personal view of locales across the globe. With a few clicks, you can scale a mountain, walk down a street in Hong Kong, or check in on your childhood home, all thanks to a 360-degree image map.
This is an effective search feature, helping customers around the globe find the exact spot they were looking for. In fact, research shows that when researching businesses, people consult mapping products 44% of the time. When they find what they need, 41% of these online searches turn into real-life visits.
The main limitation with Google Street View is that it only allows you to see the outside of a location. For instance, you can see what your old home looks like now from the street. But, you can't see what the new owners did to your old bedroom, or if the carpet has been replaced with hardwood (due to privacy violations, that's a good thing)!
Yet, tech-savvy businesses can allow shoppers an inside look at their storefronts. This is possible thanks to Google's 360-degree virtual tour capability. When the tour is complete, it's pushed out to all Google platforms. These include Google My Business, Google Maps, Google Street View, and Google+.
What You Need to Do
The first step to creating your virtual tour is to connect with a photographer certified as a Google Street View Trusted. Working with a certified agency ensures that your photos are legitimate, top quality, and protected against any misuse.
For a company to be certified as Trusted, it has to have published at least 50 360-degree photos. Also, all the images have to pass Google tests of quality, connectivity, and appropriateness.
Why It Matters: The Power of Imagery
Did you know that business listings that include imagery such as photos and videos are twice as likely to generate consumer interest and intrigue?
Think about it. Imagine you're comparing two taco shops within a five-mile radius of each other. Are you more drawn to the listing with textual data such as hours and contact information? Or will your mouth water more for the shop that allows you to take a virtual stroll inside? You can see the tacos and happy customers, and can almost smell the cilantro
It's simple. Humans are drawn to imagery and the sensory reaction it produces. In fact, studies show that content with imagery is 95% more likely to be viewed. It draws the eye in first and keeps it there longer.
Considered against this backdrop, it's easy to see why investing in the top-notch photo and video services isn't just a good business sense; It could make all the difference in the effectiveness of your overall marketing campaign. It could also affect how your brand reputation measures up against the competition.
What You Can Expect
Once you identify your trusted photographer, a representative will come to your business location. There, they'll set up a camera and capture a 360-degree view of your operations.
From stacks of sweaters to a stocked bar, whatever you're offering, you can rest assured that it's captured. It will display in high-resolution quality, at angles optimized for online viewing and browsing.
Meanwhile, you're free to continue working in your familiar environment, with little to no obstruction. The photography process is simple and non-invasive, so you don't have to give up valuable work time to get the inside of your business online.
Change Your Business View Now: Connect Today
If you're a small-to-medium business based in Montreal, Canada, we'd love to work with you. We'll help you enhance your Google My Business listing with a 360-degree virtual tour.
We're a Google Street View Trusted Agency. We bring Montreal businesses the exposure they need to draw more traffic, both online and on foot.