Are virtual tours the answer to keeping retail stores open during the current crisis?
P3D is an incredible Kiwi business that helps connect people and brands with engaging digital content. We think these guys have been doing some incredible stuff in many sectors, but right now, we believe they have a solution that allows businesses to stay open and let customers visit them, any time, anywhere - enhancing the retail experience. Jessie Coghlan from P3D explains the unique way Kiwi businesses can connect even when customers are stuck at home.
P3D may have the solution
Indulge me if you will. Cast your mind back to where we were six months ago. It was a simpler time, most of us were busy watching America’s slow motion train wreck as the 45th President was impeached, and the unthinkable happened as the UK ripped itself from the bedrock of multinational togetherness, the EU. It seemed like a low point but who could have predicted that by May 2020, a global pandemic would have permanently transformed the way we work and socialise? The world is changing at breakneck speed and there are certain sectors which will need to think outside of the box in order to survive.
Luckily, technology is on our side with cloud based applications experiencing a boom as they enable businesses to keep going under lockdown. I mean seriously, who’d even heard of Zoom two months ago? P3D are lucky enough to be one of those businesses. We've been producing virtual tours since 2012, pioneering Matterport infrared 3D scans in New Zealand and pushing boundaries on what was originally Google Street View technology. Since the lockdown began, there has been a surge of interest in all things virtual as it becomes clear that this invisible enemy will be dictating our movements for the foreseeable future, and particularly in the retail sector, a virtual tour could be the answer.
IRL here in New Zealand
A number of our clients have reported being able to keep their doors largely open over the last two months, as customers are glued to their devices and spending significant periods of time browsing online. Now with the thumbs up to get out and safely shoot, we’re able to create tours to future proof businesses against any further operating restrictions.
A showroom for example, with tags containing pop up information on key products can still deliver something like the physical experience of exploring in store, but from the comfort of home. Using street view technology (effectively 360 panoramas, digitally stitched together), we created this virtual tour for the Blum showrooms; it provides an immersive experience and contains all the information a retail assistant would be required to deliver, at the touch of a button.
A series of tours we created for Repco using RealSCAN (powered by Matterport) technology, utilise infrared to scan the environment, creating a 3D dollhouse view, floor plan and stunning virtual walkthrough. The tour is populated with clickable icons, detailing key items in store and proving that a virtual tour can be very effective in an FMCG context.
Britomart - Auckland
Another stunning tour we created for the Britomart precinct allows the viewer to wander the streets of Britomart, browse the shops and cafes, check for opening hours and contact information. With a little more work to the existing tour, this could be expanded to include home delivery menus, feature key items on the shelves with links directly back to the website, basically creating a full virtual shopping experience!
Chancery Square Auckland
With an ever increasing number of people being prompted to purchase via Facebook and with the social media giant now supporting 360 imagery, from a marketing perspective 360’s have become a very useful tool in engaging customers with compelling content. Graphic overlay on a 360 image delivered a fun interactive Easter Facebook post for the Chancery Square shopping precinct in Auckland.
It is also worth noting that whilst these tours look great on desktop and mobile, they are also fully compatible with VR headsets. Indeed, in 2019 Facebook's own Oculus Quest VR headset sold out within weeks, prompting a projected boom in VR technology, and that was pre-Covid19!
With the number of applications only limited by the imagination, virtual reality is going to go from strength to strength over the coming months and years. With the expertise to push boundaries in this technology, and P3D will be leading the pack.
P3D would be delighted to work together to find ways to future proof your business and keep doors open, no matter what the future holds.