Successfully transporting a brand experience online derives from a combination of place, product and people; the balance of which depends on the type of business you’re in. Hospitality brands are concerned mainly with rendering their physical places online, retailers with showcasing their products and service providers with introducing their people.
At the same time, faster broadband connections and wearable devices create a new marketing landscape in which to connect with customers, demonstrate product or service value, and stimulate conversations.
Best of all, you don’t need a huge budget to do it. Here are five ways businesses can do more with these new technologies:
1. Get a virtual tour
Transport your premises online and allow customers to discover and visit 24/7. The interactivity will keep them engaged and encourage them to visit in real-life. Virtual tours can suit all business types: From hotels and restaurants, to shops and salons, to schools and care homes. Static two-dimensional photography is no longer sufficient to capture a space or engage users. Everything is going 3D and interactive.
2. Enhance your virtual tour with an interactive layer
New software services, such as TourDash, will add a layer on top of your virtual tour with information, clickable hotspots, animations, videos and more. Allowing virtual visitors to interact with your tour gives you the opportunity to tell them more about your products and services, and to drive them towards buying. For example, a visitor could click on the bed in a hotel room to be taken to a booking page for that room type. Or clicking the menu on a restaurant table could bring up a window showing that week’s specials.
3. Think 360 degree product photography
Seeing a gallery of half a dozen images of a shoe from various angles is a poor substitute for turning it over in your hand. You can get closer to the real-life experience with 360 product photography which allows users to spin the product on-screen. The illusion is particularly effective when viewed on a mobile device with a touchscreen, as 60% of internet shoppers are now doing.
4. Use a promotional video or live chat to recreate what it’s like to meet you
Users are weary of businesses who devolve customer service to a website or telephone system. They welcome businesses who present a confident, helpful and human face. Leapfrogging most support portals is Kindle Fire’s ‘Mayday’ button which instantly launches a video call with a real support person who can also control your device remotely to fix whatever problem you’re having.
5. Pay attention to where people access your content
Your online store has more than one entrance. Brand touchpoints are scattered across websites, advertising, social media, business directories and beyond. Ideally, a user should get the same experience and have access to the same content, whichever door they enter from. After all, you’ve invested in building the content, so make it work harder for you. For example, if you followed the advice in point 1 above, make sure you also embed your virtual tour on your Facebook page.