This week’s “Ask the Mompreneur” features an interview with David Armory, the top performing “Google Trusted Photographer” in the Charlotte area. Armory is the owner of ChaseVision360, which specializes in creating panoramic, interactive, and composite images for business.
Ask the Mompreneur:
Retail businesses are competing more fiercely than ever to get found in online searches, and to convert those virtual visits into physical sales. What is Google Business Photos and how can they help local owners attract new customers?
Google Business Photos are a series of panoramic images that when stitched together create a 360-degree interactive tour of a business. Online customers are invited to step inside and take a good look around. Think of Streetview for interior spaces…click – look – experience. The tour is hosted by Google and appears on Google searches, Google maps and Google+ Local listings. The business owner has full rights to all the images and the tours are easily embedded into websites and social media.
How it works
The photographer schedules a photo session with the business owner to walk through the space and plan the tour. Any special highlights are reviewed prior to the shoot. The photo session takes approximately one hour but depends on the size and complexity of the business. Hundreds of pictures are uploaded to Google's processing pipeline, magically stitched and published. The post production only takes a few days for the business to go “live”.
Upon publication a new “see inside” and a new “see outside” window appear below the map of the Google search results. These new features also appear in Google Maps and the businesses Google + Local listing. In addition to the online tour, the business owner receives a copy of the point of interest photos and instructions on how to embed the tour to their website and social media.
Businesses report positive responses from their customers and testimonials indicate a 20-25% increase in unique impressions after publication. Many report a direct link between the tours and increased walk in traffic with the decision to go to their store. The interactive experience encourages viewers to linger longer and ultimately form a stronger bond with the brand.
Examples include local Charlotte business like Hair Klaudt Salon and Gallery, owned by Karl Klaudt, who said “We have seen an increase in our business since the tour went live and we put it on our website. Anyone who has seen it wants to come to the shop and check it out.” Google Business Photos can also benefit non-profit organizations such as the Carolinas Aviation Museum. Their online tour inspired a 12-year-old girl to remark, “Wow is this place in Charlotte? I want to go there!”
97 percent of consumers search for local businesses online. Businesses enjoy the enhanced listings and it’s easier for customers to find them. The tours are a great way to showcase décor, ambiance, and the unique qualities of a business. Event venues, galleries, restaurants, boutiques, retail stores, showrooms, salons, spas, auto dealerships, gyms, yoga facilities, dental and medical practices can all benefit from the exposure. Think of it as a way to invite customers inside your business to enjoy the surroundings you have worked so hard to create.
To learn more about the program, click here.
Jennie Wong, Ph.D. is an executive coach, author of “Ask the Mompreneur,” and founder of the social shopping startup CartCentric.com. Follow her on Twitter @DrJennieWong.