DISCLAIMER: This blog post is written in collaboration with Matt.360, however, Matt did not ask me to write this piece and has not paid me in any shape or form (not monetary or gift). Matt just provided the information and imagery – of course – regarding 360 photography.
If you Google the term “360 Photos”, you will notice that they are really big business and there’s a good reason why. Matt uses his knowledge and experience taking 360 photos for local businesses to explain why they’re so important with regards to ranking well on Google. However, for this blog post, I wanted to take it a bit further and step into the shoes of customers, more specifically those with anxiety.
Setting the Scene
Matt explains that according to Google, the following facts are the reason why 360 imagery is so important:
- Customers are more likely to view listings with images and virtual tours
- 44% of consumers are using mapping products
- 41% of place searches result in an on-site visit
an aThis might be true – and I’m very sure it is because Google obviously has the data to corroborate this information. However, I want to delve deeper on a human level. Okay, so people are using maps, images and virtual tours in their decisions making, however, I want to question something that Google can’t tell us about…
Why do people use Google, and why do images and videos etc hold such a big impact on their decision-making?
You might remember that I ran an Anxiety Survey last summer, of which an amazing 93 people took part and gave me some incredibly useful feedback that I wanted to share with you today.
For context, 94.6% of respondents stated that they had anxiety (no matter if they had been officially diagnosed or not). I wanted to use some of the information these people provided to help us to understand exactly why we use images so much before we visit a physical shop.
Although one person refrained from answering the question, 97.8% of those that did respond, said that they DO use maps to find business locations, although this was split fairly evenly between Sometimes, Always and When Visiting Somewhere New.
I then asked them…
What type of businesses do they look up using Maps?
Noting that they could choose more than one option here, a massive 91% of respondents stated that they looked up maps to find Cafes and Restaurants. So, if you are a Cafe or a Restaurant and you are not on Google Maps, you really need to make sure that you are.
- 82% said shops.
- 69.7% said pubs and bars
- 65.2% said hotels
Other suggestions included: Tourist Attractions (museums etc), Venues, Anything in a Town they had never visited before.
Reasons customers look up maps include:
- Finding out exactly where a specific business is; directions etc
- Discovering what businesses are in the location the customer is planning on visiting
- Figuring out what the specific business looks like
However, finding a business on a map isn’t the only aspect of 360 photography that can help individuals with anxiety.
Taking 360 Imagery Indoors
As someone who suffers from anxiety, I find it incredibly unnerving entering a shop I have never been into before.
“Not knowing the escape roots” was a comment added to the question of What would Put you off entering a shop. It might sound like a small thing, but for those of us with anxiety, feeling ‘boxed in’ and like we can’t escape is an immense problem because we feel claustrophobic and overwhelmed especially when we don’t know if the interior of a shop is well-spaced or has cramped areas.
However, knowing what the interior of the shop looks like is a big help. Below is an interactive 360 image that Matt did for The Original Emporium in 2021. If you hold down your cursor on the image (or hold down with your finger, if you are on your phone), you can slide the image across to look around as if you were stood in the middle of the shop.
360 images help people to mentally map out what the interior looks like. I can see how much space there is in the shop, I can see exactly where the till is so if I get overwhelmed, I know which direction I need to go in order to pay without having to anxiously scan around. This is particularly important if the shop is crowded.
I can also look around the shop to see – on this occasion – that there is only one entrance/exit which is helpful.
As a result, I feel more comfortable to enter the shop because it takes away the unknown and I know exactly what I can expect when I am inside.
Do you run a physical customer-based business? Please consider hiring Matt to do some 360 photography for you. As an anxious person, I can’t begin to explain how helpful these images are to people like me.