If you weren’t aware, Google does indoor maps. If you were aware, you may not have known of the extent of the buildings that have been mapped already. You can view a list of over 10,000 buildings that have been mapped, here.
Users can upload their own building plans, as long as the building in question is public and there’s no problem with copyright or secrecy.
Uploading a building map of your stores, much like John Lewis and House of Fraser in the UK and Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s in the US, is probably a great idea. I’ve previously discussed the smartphone user journey, and indoor maps can slot right in to Google’s domination of that journey.
Even those who aren’t looking for anything specific on their phone, i.e. passing trade, might be tempted by maps. Certainly, if there is any pedestrian traffic outside of your stores, the extra detail may persuade potential customers to step inside, especially if there’s a marker on café, toilets, sportswear, perfume etc. (although the user has to be fully zoomed in to see the indoor map).
The initial benefit, of course, is that lost and tech-savvy customers (teens is likely to be a big demographic) can find their way to whichever desk or concession they need, once inside.
To some shoppers, the idea of needing a Google Map to find the toilets in a supermarket is a bit demoralising – surely we don’t need tech so far engrained in our lives? But, with malls, out of town shopping centres and bigger retail stores a trend that hasn’t abated, I think in retail there’s a good case for indoor maps.
And there are lots of good uses outside of retail, too. Let’s take a look at some of the best uses of indoor maps, taken from Google’s case studies.