BUSINESSES in Royal Wootton Bassett are thrilled that their shops are now on Google and people can take a tour of their wares without leaving their armchairs.

Customers can now take a look around 14 shops in the town from the comfort of their own living rooms, as the internet giant has uploaded photographs which allow potential customers to take a 360 degrees virtual tour.

Traditional sweet shop Sugar Rush, which celebrates its third birthday next month, is owned by Diddie and Andrew Morgan-Holmes and is one of the businesses benefitting from the new technology.

Diddie said: “We are one of the first on the site. I had a look and I’m quite happy about it, I am just waiting now link it to our website or our Facebook page.

“Google came in last Tuesday and filmed and they’ve got it up in exactly a week.

“Our hope is that many people will enjoy looking around Royal Wootton Bassett shops online, and will then want to come and visit us in person as a result. We use social media regularly at Sugar Rush, so we’ll also be sharing our tour via Facebook and Twitter.”

Businesses taking part in the scheme got a special rate from just £60 plus VAT for the service, which aims to give the stores more publicity as the latest extension to Google StreetView provides a panoramic tour of the inside of a business, linked to the street outside and inviting potential customers to make a virtual visit.

Hazel Newson, chairman of the Business Association and owner of gift shop Dandelion, has also signed her business up to the site.

“It’s very exciting. There are 14 or 15 businesses taking part and it’s really good to be able to go inside the shop because we can actually look around,” she said.

“I just think it’s just fabulous. They look brilliant.

“Everybody thought it was a good thing to do because we can link it to our websites.”

Somerset internet services firm Better Reach, a Google Trusted Agency, contacted the town’s businesses recently, as well as the local Business Association which spread the word to its members.

Stuart Edmonstone, of Better Reach, said: “To date it has tended to be bigger retailers and chains which have taken up this opportunity. However, we recently started rolling out a new initiative with the aim of enabling a greater number of smaller shops to get online and helping bring customers back to the High Street. It’s a great way to showcase the unique features of an individual business to a wide-ranging audience.”

Other stores making use of the technology include Maddisons Grocers, JD Pets, Bassett Home Brew, Primrose Hill gifts, Mercer Hair, Royale Beautique beauticians, Johnson & Daltrey funeral services, and Samshe shabby chic furniture.