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Opening Your Business to Virtual Foot Traffic with Google Street View

“Google Maps is the Dominant Local Search Engine”

–   SearchEngineLand.com, Nov 2019

But what if the people searching for your business or the service you provide could then jump right from Google Maps into your location? Soak up the atmosphere, look at the items on the shelf, the showroom or lobby instantly? Pre-COVID, 56% of people listed the first action they were most likely to take after finding a business on Google Maps was to visit in person. In the post-pandemic world of 2020, that number is unknown. What IS clear is that people still would prefer an in-person visit where possible. According to Google’s own statisticslistings with photos and a virtual tour are twice as likely to generate interest. Which probably means that Google, on their mission to show content most interesting to searchers, is more likely to show listings with photos and virtual tours first, all else being equal.
A case study of New York restaurants found that on average, restaurants that had incorporated Google Street View had a 30% higher click through to reservations. And the visitors that viewed those Google Street View virtual tours also clicked through to reserve 20% more than visitors of the same restaurant that didn’t open the Street View. Finally, 84% of the surveyed customers said that the virtual tour played a factor in their restaurant choice.

Google Street View Virtual Tours for Business

Getting a virtual tour of your business can help maintain or give you a competitive edge. At Anikio, we can create a fully branded, custom virtual tour that offers more than just a look around. An interactive tour that engages the customers. Have a salesperson on the floor that can come to life and introduce your business with a click. Popup information on a product with a “Buy now” button. The tour can be hosted by us or we can compile it to run on your website directly. And of course, we can publish a version of the same tour (subject to Google’s limitations) on Google Street View as well.

Dropping our little guy right into the middle of an Anikio Google Street View tour
Dropping our little guy right into the middle of an Anikio Google Street View tour

COVID-19 has made it more important than ever for your business to have a local presence online. We are eager to help! Learn more about our virtual tours or contact us directly for more information and/or a quote.

 

 

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When One Door Closes, A New Virtual Tour Opens

An example of a virtual tour on Anikio's new Virtual Tour Enginer=

Sometimes, when a door closes another door opens. A shinier, stronger, more incredible door that you never would have even noticed were it not for the first door closing. A door that is so exciting, you’d spend the first three sentences talking about it. A virtual door!

Let me take you back to September 4, 2020. Our first child, due November 8, had grown impatient and broke mom’s water at 30 weeks. We were scared, stressed, and at the hospital doing anything and everything we could to keep him (spoiler alert) in there. It was not the time that I would have chosen to receive the news that our virtual tour provider is going out of business. But there it was. A huge issue, because we had 45 virtual tours shot and hosted that would no longer exist. With customers attached to those tours that expected to be able to reuse them. And that home had been the only tour partner I’d found that could make our business model work for Anikio. It was not a great day.

The Problem With Most Virtual Tour Options

You see, the number one user of virtual tours, by far, is realtors. Realtors have their listings filmed, the virtual tour stays up for a few months, and by then the property is sold, pulled, or the agent loses the listing most of the time. That virtual tour isn’t needed again. Virtual tour providers are set up to work within that model, with subscriptions that limit the maximum number of ‘active’ tours at a given time and pricing that makes virtual tours totally inaccessible to other markets. Matterport, I’m looking at you.

With Anikio, we had a solution that would allow us to retain and re-use tours year after year and, with enough tour renewals, would pay the bills on our hosting subscription fees. That allowed us to price the tours within reach for rentals, which is still our core focus. And then we didn’t.

The Next Generation of Virtual Tours

We scoured the internet for options. We looked at pricing, ran numbers, and did a bunch of ninja math. We reviewed and built virtual tours, had phone calls with sales agents, tried option after option. And what we finally found did require a fair amount of capital up front, but gives us total control over the virtual tours we create. More over, it takes Anikio virtual tours from being a budget option for rental property to the premier option for virtual tours in Saskatchewan. It opens doors (uh oh, here we go again with the doors!) for our customers to have a virtual presence like never before at a time, during the COVID-19 pandemic, when it has never been more important to have an online presence.

Our virtual tours look better, have more interactivity options, more customization and user interface capabilities, and more advanced marketing tools than we have ever seen in this province. We can integrate directly with Google’s Street View so a business with an Anikio tour can walk right in from Google and get a feeling for their physical location. We’re unlocking the possibilities of Virtual Open Houses with our new Live Guided Tour option that lets landlords or realtors host and show a property virtually to potential renters or buyers anywhere in the world. We’re able to create a unique, Custom Branded Experience for businesses or realtors. And now virtual tours can be turned easily into native Facebook and YouTube 360-degree videos.

This really is just scratching the surface of the possibilities of our new virtual tour engine. Embedded floor plans, Deep Linking (directly bring someone into a specific room), Google Analytics, Information Windows, Integrated Photo Album, Dynamic Introductions, Voice-to-text, Integrated Sound/Music, Virtual Reality Ready, and so much more!

We can’t wait to share more details on some of these many features here and on our virtual tour page!

Oh Right! That Other Thing

So, a few weeks later, Mikali, our first son, was born! 8 weeks early but he has been doing amazingly well. It certainly has been an adjustment working from home and having a child first in NICU and now at home also, but we are so grateful that he’s healthy and doing well.