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Clint Engel

Tema Home, Design 9 to post High Point showroom tour online

HIGH POINT — For all the retailers who don't make it to the TemaHome/Design 9 showroom in 220 Elm at this week's High Point Market, the two suppliers are bringing their showroom to you.

 TemaHome Google photographerGreensboro, N.C., photographer Chris Groch of SpinShoot.com shoots a 360-degree showroom tour of the TemaHome and Design9 showroom in High Point for a Google Business Photos page.

A Google-authorized photographer visited the roughly 5,000-square-foot showroom, space 311 in 220 Elm, after show hours to shoot a 360-degree virtual showroom tour, featuring TemaHome's imported case goods from Portugal and Design 9's custom modern upholstery, along with goods from other sources sharing the space.

It's part of Google's Business Photos service, a fairly new program that's sort of like Street View scenes on Google Maps. But instead of a street view, users click on a photo in the Maps section and are taken on a panoramic tour of a store or restaurant or, in this case, a High Point showroom.

TemaHome's North America Sales Manager Mark Broemer first saw a demonstration of the site less than two weeks ago while visiting customer Elemento Furniture in Miami (see the store tour here). He jumped on it fast enough to get a local photographer here the night before the official market opening and expects to have the tour online in about two weeks.

At first, Broemer was concerned it would be a pricy venture.

It's not. The shoot will end up costing about $360 — $250 for the first three 360-degree photos and $20 for each additional shot, though the cost varies some by market. TemaHome and Design 9, led by Michael Bellocchio, are splitting that charge.

Other than that, Tema just needed to register with Google for a business page, but that was free, part of Google's brilliant plan for world domination, Broemer said.

The tour could've been online by the end of High Point Market if he had registered just a little earlier, but this was all arranged quickly, he said.

TemaHome and Design 9 will be sending their customers a link to the new page, inviting them to take a look.

"We don't get West Coast customers here, so it's a way to show them our new product," said Broemer.

But he added that it's also something retailers should be taking advantage of to draw customers in.

"It gives them more credibility, especially if you have a beautiful store," he said.

Information about Google Business Photos is online at http://maps.google.com/help/maps/businessphotos/index.html.

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