Could your small business use a 41% boost to your in-store visits? What about 44% more web traffic? It definitely couldn’t hurt! Google has created a new tool for businesses that does the above, and more.
Google’s indoor street view or business virtual tour is the newest marketing miracle. A virtual tour provider will do all the work of creating a tour for you, while you sit back and watch your profits increase.
If you’re interested in the benefits above, keep reading to find out how it works!
What is a Google Virtual Tour?
Sometimes called inside street view, Google’s virtual tours let you stay open 24/7. Google handpicks photographers who come to your business and take panoramic images.
Those images turn into a high-quality Google maps experience. Instead of looking at your static photos or a blurry shot of your storefront, customers can come inside.
Then, clients use familiar street view controls to move through your business. Your virtual tour enables them to tour your business, even outside of business hours. They get a better idea of your store culture and can make a more informed choice about future visits.
Are They Worth The Cost?
Yes! In August 2014, Google commissioned a trusted consumer research company to conduct a study. The 2014 Traveler’s Road to Decision tracked consumer’s online shopping behaviors.
The study found that when customers are looking for new stores, 44% of them use a mapping feature. Stores that were visible on maps were 41% more likely to receive an in-store visit, based off of their strong Google business page profile.
The more complete the Google business page was for a store, the more attention clients paid to it. Businesses with virtual tours got double the amount of clicks than those without.
Since that data was from three years ago, imagine what the numbers are like today!
Virtual Tour Benefits for Businesses
It’s getting harder to maintain a brick and mortar store in an online obsessed world. If the tour statistics above didn’t thrill you, their real-world applications below will.
The study showed that businesses with virtual tours received more clicks than businesses that did not have virtual tours. clicks lead to a Google business or place page where the customer can click through to your site.
Your virtual tour provider will help you set up your place page with your tour and other information. It’s like having a mini-website, without any of the maintenance work!
If a picture speaks 1,000 words, pictures were taken by a virtual tour provider speak 2,000. By displaying a virtual tour of your business, you’re inspiring trust in consumers.
By showing customers exactly what you have to offer, they know what to expect. Showing off your store with a tour shows you take pride in your work and have nothing to hide.
Did you know companies with photos inspire 79% more trust in consumers than those who don’t have any photos? It’s true! Your virtual tour provider will give you professional photo shots of your business.
You can use these shots however you please, with no additional costs. It’s like getting marketing material for no work and no cost!
Puts You on the Map
When someone searches for your business or the services you offer on maps, your page will pop up. A virtual tour provider will help you upload your tour to integrate into Google Maps.
The customer can then click through inside your store, instead of seeing storefronts. It gives consumers a more realistic view of your location and an idea of your company culture.
Leaves Nothing to the Imagination
Depending on your industry, people may be looking for a certain experience and aesthetic. Before you call a virtual tour provider, do some market research on what that is.
Then, make some tweaks to your business to better fit what customers are looking for. Let the photographer know what feel you’re going for, so they can strategically place their shots.
Helps Customize Customer Service
Within your internal tour, you can create links to different store locations. If a customer has a question, you can link them to the specific area they’re asking about.
High Return on Investment
If this is all sounding too good to be true, the price will shock you. Virtual business tours are affordable, ranging from $400-$2000 CAD depending on square footage.
Whatever you spend on the tour, you can expect to make back in two to three months. With the increased web and in person traffic you’ll get, you’ll see a large and fast ROI.
Virtual Reality Ready
Your internal street view tour can be used with any up to date virtual reality headset. Once VR becomes more common, this will allow clients an even more immersive view of your business.
Why Hire a Professional Virtual Tour Provider?
Companies that offer virtual tour photography are handpicked by Google. Since it’s going into one of their products (Google maps), Google wants the highest quality possible.
Some virtual tour providers offer their clients opportunities for advertising via their portfolio. After embedding your tour as an example of their work, they will create a bio for your business.
Even for brick and mortar stores, it’s important to have a strong SEO strategy. Picking a company that displays your information, creates a free backlink, helping you rank higher in search results.
The Overall Experience
Hiring a professional Google confirmed photographer will make the entire experience smoother. Your photos will turn out better and your future customers will be able to tell the difference.
With their reasonable prices and long list of benefits, virtual tours practically sell themselves. Take the time to schedule a consultation and bring more customers into your business.
Have you seen businesses use google’s virtual tours below? What did you think? Tell us in the comments!