"Never been to our shop before? Take a virtual tour with Google Maps," suggests Sigma Sport, the upscale bike shop in Kingston upon Thames. "Pan and zoom and be sure to go upstairs."
Sigma Sport is one of the first UK bike shops to benefit from the 360-degree tours inside businesses and shops now becoming available on Google Maps. The walkarounds also work on smartphones so customers can check out a store while on the move, without actually visiting the physical store.
Any business can take advantage of this system. The 360-degree images are not taken with Google Street View cameras, they are panoramic photos taken by ‘Google Trusted Photographers,’ who charge businesses to take them, stitch imagery together, and publish the virtual tours on Google Maps. This service can cost as little as £250 for a small bike shop.
The tours have been available since September but are onlynow starting to show in Google Search results via a new “See inside” tag that takes you to the 360-degree tour of the premises.
As well as Sigma Sport another shop to have paid for a ‘business photos’ service is Cycle Revolution of Ipswich.