Well, are they? I only ask because the world of technology has delivered an opportunity for retailers which is well worth taking notice of. Be warned though – having read this blog you might find yourself scribbling down ideas for how to give your shop interior a bit of a revamp…
Cars With Cameras
Google Street View has been around for a while now available for directions or a nose at a property you might buy. You may even have seen the car driving around and waved or perhaps pulled a stunt. All well and good and a fantastic resource but don’t you get frustrated when you can’t go into the properties? I for one wish I could just open the door and have a nose around.
The good news is that things are changing and fast, an example of which is right on our doorstep here in South Somerset.
21st Century High Streets
A locally based Google Trusted Agency, Better Reach, has just produced a panoramic tour for one of our clients, Cottage Flowers. This resource allows you to enter virtually the Cottage Flowers shop in Ilminster and view the store interior via 360degree, mapped photographs just like Street View.
In the past this was only available to larger high street stores but the technology is now filtering down to independents via localised initiatives. The tour is embedded on to Google servers so that street view to interior view is seamless.
Not Just The Big Chains
Now our high street retailers facing an uphill battle in the real world and online have a chance to get on-board. It allows them to strengthen their presence on line by supporting their own websites, giving them credence and also supporting local search. Ultimately by allowing web users to see the inside of your premises helps build the customer’s perception of a solid business with a base, actual bricks and mortar. Customer trust is at the heart of this. Nothing new there then.
In my opinion this could create an opportunity for the high street encouraging web-based customers to visit the store by enticing them in with great interiors shown on Google. Rather than simply looking at the business’s website they can take one more step and enter the virtual world of the shop before visiting you in person, wallet or purse at the ready.
Screen vs. Reality
Flower shops have a particular smell. Clothes shops are full of texture and colour. Imagine the pleasant greeting of a shop owner as you wander in off the street or the ability to pick up a book in your local bookshop and flick through its pages. Unfortunately no matter how good the design of a website is it is difficult to reflect the atmosphere and ambience of a physical shop.
This is the heart of the problem for many companies. Business Tours present the store to the online audience in a way closer to the real thing that can only encourage a visit to get the full experience by going down to the shop itself, wallet or purse at the ready.
Put Your Ideas Hat On
As I said at the start this obviously means that retail interiors are going have to work harder as they will have to present an enticing interior to the viewer. Welcoming and colourful. Well stocked and merchandised. Tidy, quality interiors and products in an attractively lit space. Win the customer over. Draw them into investigate further.
Nothing Stands Still
Don’t dismiss it though because of the extra work or through a fear of embracing changing technology or simply pass it off as gimmick. This is an opportunity to really strengthen your retail brand and one that in the current climate high street retailers everywhere can’t afford to miss.