👉 What is a store locator ?
The store locator is a service that allows visitors to a merchant's website to locate the physical points of sale closest to them quickly and easily. The list of these points of sale is usually accompanied by a dynamic map allowing the customer to find out each store's contact details, business hours, and much more.
👉 How does having a store locator on your website benefit your customers?
With more than 78% of shoppers now researching online before buying in-store, the need for a store locator should no longer be questioned. Yet, many stores still don't have one — or at least a good one!
So, why would a customer search for a store locator on your website?
- Identify the nearest store: thanks to the geolocation feature, a customer can easily and quickly see where the nearest stores are located. If they are looking for a specific location, they can use the search bar to enter an address, postcode, and more. Thus, having a store locator on your site saves them from having to do the search on a third-party site (like Google Maps). What’s more, it provides them with an immersive, personalized, and positive experience 😃
- Access information about the store: customers can find store details, business hours, special announcements (like holiday hours or special promotions), accessibility for people with reduced mobility, click-and-collect options, and more. By filling in all this information (which is possible on BusinessLocator thanks to the practical and customizable filters), the customer saves time and is reassured about the availability of services nearby.
- Get directions to the selected store: so, the customer has made their choice—now what? They need directions to get there, so they’ll likely look for an itinerary to determine the best route to take. If the business has a basic store locator, the customer will probably have to open Google Maps and do a manual search. But if the business is using BusinessLocator, the customer only needs to enter the desired starting point and the route will be displayed automatically!
💡 Why is it important to meet these customer expectations?
By providing an all-inclusive experience with your store locator, you keep the customer on your site, avoiding distractions and promotions from your competitors that may be present on third-party sites. Thus, you provide a favorable online experience and maximize your chances of completing the sale in-store.
👉 How does having a store locator on your website benefit your franchise?
With web-to-store behavior (search online, buy in store) becoming more and more important among Internet users, making your business visible on the Internet and implementing a cross-channel strategy is becoming a priority to:
- Optimize the local SEO of your franchises and organic SEO of your website: by creating store pages for each location of your business, linked to the points on your map, you optimize your SEO so that your customers can find you more easily online and offline!
- Let people discover your company: thanks to SEO, Internet users who search for keywords corresponding to your activity near their home, can come across your store locator and become a customer!
- Bridging the gap between online and offline: by implementing web-to-store features such as click-and-collect, appointment booking, online reservation, and promotional operations, you can generate more visits to your website — which means more sales for your franchises.
- Increase your conversion rate: with the processes listed above, you have the possibility to generate leads that have indicated a need or purchase intent, which you can more easily collect and convert later with a nurturing strategy.
- Display up-to-date information: an advantage for both you and your customers! You can easily update all the data on your establishments to share new business hours, current promotions, and more.
- Provide a responsive experience: with more than half of all Internet users on their mobile devices, it's important to provide a responsive experience to avoid frustrating your visitors. Surprisingly, a majority of store locators are not responsive and are challenging to navigate on mobile devices. With BusinessLocator, it is no longer a problem since the tool automatically handles this to provide the best possible experience for your users.
👉 Where to place your store locator?
- In the navigation menu
You can find inspiration from brands like LUSH, which puts its shops front and center:
- On the homepage
- In the footer
An option chosen by FNAC:
By placing a link to your store locator on the homepage of your website, in the navigation menu, or in the footer, you optimize your chances of having the store pages — automatically generated by BusinessLocator — better ranked in search engine results because they'll be within three clicks of the homepage.
💡 Why are some maps difficult to access?
A large majority of store locator apps or plugins on the market depend on Google Maps or Mapbox to display their maps. Displaying these maps comes at a cost (an important one at that). Large brands with a lot of website traffic “hide” their maps and favor address searches and store lists — even if this degrades the user experience — to avoid breaking the bank 💸.
So, now you know all about the need for a store locator! Don't waste another minute: Sign up to join the waiting list for BusinessLocator, the tool that allows you to create THE store locator to boost your online visibility and traffic to your franchises!
Are you a franchisee and your brand doesn't have a store locator? 👉 Share this article with your franchisor.