Why can’t retailers enable us to go on a virtual ‘safari’ in their stores?
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from the IMS Results Count blog.
Google has sent their cameras to Kenya’s Samburu National Reserve to enable online browsers to experience a virtual “safari” from their computer via Street View. It’s truly addictive and got me wondering: Why can’t retailers create the same experience for their stores?
Working with the Save the Elephants charity, Google mounted cameras on top of trucks and took photos along the trails traversing the 65-square-mile park. Just like the Street View on Google Maps, you can navigate along the route by using buttons on screen.
Why is this any different than watching a safari video? Nothing wrong with videos, but this is a unique interaction. You can change the view angle, zoom in and out, and change directions of where you go to seek out any of the lions, leopards or more than 600 elephants.
In the past eight years, Google has also been strapping cameras to trolleys, boats, snowmobiles, camels and even zip lines. Through immersive, interactive-rich content, Google has brought exotic locations to sofa surfers, including the top of Mount Fuji, the Great Barrier Reef and the Liwa Desert.
If Google can create a Street View in game trails in Kenya, why can’t retailers create a virtual tour of their stores?
Imagine the experience if retailers created a “Street View” for their store aisles and shelves:
- After finding a product online or on your smartphone, a store map could pop up showing you where the product is located in-store;
- Photos could pop up showing you the physical product on the shelf;
- The coordinates could download to your smartphone to guide you in-store;
- LED ceiling lights with navigation technology could guide you to within inches of the product on shelf;
- With navigation buttons, you could also explore other aisles and displays for related products and accessories;
- The “store safari” could show you the latest arrivals, displays and events at a local store.
How would the technology work? A shopping cart could take 360-degree photos of each position in the aisle so that consumers could “walk” down the aisle or turn sideways and see what is on the shelf. With a goal of clean navigation of the aisles and shelves, store views would be shot at night. Night shooting would also remove privacy concerns.
With more than 85 percent of consumers searching online before going to stores, retailers need better ways to engage consumers before they visit a store.
Retail is no longer about products at a price. Omnichannel is all about the experience — how to engage across virtual and physical touchpoints. The technology is available now. The question is, which retailer will create the first “store safari” online?
- Why can’t retailers enable us go on a virtual “safari” in their stores? – Integrated Marketing Solutions
- You can now go on a Kenyan safari thanks to Street View – Fox News
Should retailers explore creating virtual tours of their stores using Google Street View-type technology? In what ways do you see technologies possibly bringing an interactive in-store experience to online? What do you see as the potential benefit as well as the hurdles?