Treat your customers to a virtual in-store tour with Google Street View

Treat your customers to a virtual in-store tour with Google Street View

Has it really been ten years already? Since its launch in 2007, Google Street View has become the industry leader when it comes to providing virtual, panoramic images of towns, businesses, local landmarks and much more. Now an integral part of Google Maps, Google Street View has continued to evolve over the last decade, incorporating masses of new information and providing users with comprehensive – and frequent – updates. Although Google Places and Google Maps Javascript remain two of the most popular Google Maps APIs for business use, professionals are turning to Google Street View more and more often, particularly those involved in the travel, logistics and retail sectors. Find out how to help your business get the most out of Google Street View, and learn how it can help improve brand image and increase in-store traffic by offering customers a virtual in-store tour ahead of their visit.

Google Street View and the travel industry: attracting and engaging customers

I want a room decorated in blue, on the second floor, with a sea view.

Today’s traveller expects to be able to book the holiday of their dreams, right down to their hotel suite. When booking a room in a hotel, it is important that their selection correspond to certain (often very subjective) criteria.

Some surprising statistics
28% of hotel customers aren’t satisfied with their room, while 84% of business travellers would prefer more freedom when selecting their room. (Source: Hilton study)

Take control of the check-in process with Google Street View

Google Street View offers customers the possibility to take a virtual tour of your hotel, allowing them to choose the room that’s perfect for them. That’s great news if you’ve recently undertaken renovations, as these are often a decisive factor in customer bookings. In other words, no more unpleasant surprises at check-in time! For the customer, having the opportunity to take the lead when selecting a room means they’re more likely to avoid disappointment or feeling dissatisfied with the room they are given.
Virtual visits ahead of the online check-in bring other advantages, these include:

  • Increased customer engagement as a result of a more personalised experience, all at no cost to your business,,
  • Improved brand image– not only does using the latest technology place your business at the forefront of the industry, it also highlights recent renovations/modernisations,
  • Improved UX, with the customer taking charge of the reservation process,
  • Market differentiation – in this case, a more exclusive experience for the customer, who becomes a unique and valued potential customer as opposed to an anonymous prospect,
  • Significantly improved Client Knowledge, allowing your business to take advantage of previous bookings or requests to offer ever more personalised services.

Improve in-store footfall with Google Street View

Virtual supermarket visits ahead of a shopping trip

Larger supermarkets, such as Carrefour, are ahead of the curve when it comes to using online technology as a virtual window into their stores. Encouraging potential customers to ‘window-shop’ before making an in-store visit is a great way to present new offers, exclusive brands and updated store layouts.
By simultaneously encouraging customers to take advantage of Web-to-Store functionalities, the likelihood of an in-store visit is greatly increased. Even better, as a result of this virtual visit, shoppers are more likely to have a ‘pre-filled’ basket when they arrive in store. Finally, this kind of digital tour has been shown to increase customer’s average session time when online shopping, as well as improving customer engagement.

Shopping centres: keeping up with the latest in-store developments

When it comes to shopping centre management, experts are constantly looking for ways to optimise footfall and raise brand awareness of surrounding stores. Carmila, head of franchise management for French supermarket Carrefour, is particularly concerned with improving brand performance.

Virtual visit of Carrefour Shopping Center in Bourges

Thanks to Google Street View, shoppers are able to explore shopping centres ahead of time, giving management a golden opportunity to encourage in-store visits with:

  • Rotating displays or points of sale. Customers are able to visualise new brands or stores that have arrived since their last visit.
  • In-store events, such as fashion shows, concerts or exhibitions – for a true shopping experience!
  • Arrival of concept or flagship stores, such as Forever 21’s Birmingham Bullring flagship (the company’s first-ever UK store), to increase brand awareness,
  • Services targeting families, such as game centres or crèches.

Whether you’re looking to optimise the customer’s travel experience, boost in-store footfall or improve the ‘shopping experience’, Google Street View is your business’ perfect partner. To find out more about how Google Street View can transform your brand’s image and significantly improve UX, take a look at our slideshow examining Google Maps APIs.