When I stopped down to pick up some netting for our broomball goals (for Flurrious!) at Uncle Sam's Army Navy Surplus in the Larkin District, Director of Retail Operations Chris Story shared his latest marketing approach with me. He told me that he and owner Rob Geist had applied to Google to be a test business for a new online tour program. Google's business tours program went live at the end of 2012, and Uncle Sam's was lucky enough to be one of the 500 businesses in the country to be included with the launching of the initiative.
Chris showed me the program, which turned out to be very enlightening. Upon conducting a Google search for
"Uncle Sam's Army Navy Surplus - Buffalo, NY" the top search results were brought up per usual. To the right of the search results was a "See Inside" option. Once clicked upon Google served up a lifelike tour experience that unfolded right before our eyes. There I was... standing inside the store, walking down the aisles of military merchandise (without leaving the computer).
Similar to Google "Street View", the program allowed me to cruise down the aisles in order to get a glimpse of the offerings, and the store layout. Arrows directed me, to show me which ways to go, while staged vignettes of workers dressed up in military gear presented themselves. The production included an ax-wielding SWAT team member doing battle against a flasher (see lead image), guys wearing gas masks, girls donning pink camo face guards (see below), blue hazmat workers, militants, militia men, Nordic trackers... not to mention what the cashiers were sporting... what a crazy scene!
What was really amazing was the clarity of the merchandise. The images depicted rows of t-shirts that were easy to read - the numbers were clear on the price tags and the colors were vibrant. "In the end, Uncle Sam's bought into a Google business package," Chris told me. "That allowed the store to pull off this extensive tour. All of the business packages are different depending on the size of the showroom and the number of images required to complete the stitching. We were fortunate enough to have been chosen as one of the first to do this, and we made sure that the place was well-organized, visually appealing and that there were people wearing all sorts of our gear. We have arranged so that Google will come back six times a year, in order that the merchandise and displays remain current, and we'll continue to have fun with it accordingly. Google was looking for interesting businesses throughout the US to test this out... well, we're glad that they chose us."
Take an online tour
at Uncle Sam's, or stop in sometime before February 1st and get 25% off of everything in stock! After you're done with the online virtual tour of the interior, you can virtually walk out of the store's front door and take an online tour of Larkinville.
290 Larkin St
Buffalo, NY 14210