What is a store locator and how do I create one?

What is a store locator and how do I create one?

A store locator — or “store locator” in French — is a page on a brand’s website that lists the position of each of its points of sale using an interactive geolocation map. To this initial function are added other services such as click and collect, reservation of services or even personalized promotions.

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What is a store locator?

An interactive and intuitive map

The main element that characterizes a store locator is the presence of an interactive map that lists and locates all the points of sale of a brand. Each user can then view the nearest store of his current location, his home or even his place of work. Beyond simply identifying where the store is, customers and prospects can also distinguish the shortest route to get there.

A direct contact link between each store and its customers

Alongside this interactive map, the page can also contain essential information so that the customer can contact their local store directly. Phone number, email address, opening hours or even customer reviews left by regulars… The store locator thus creates a relationship of trust with its closest customers. As the points of sale of the same brand do not necessarily have the same opening policies on public holidays or Sundays, for example, this interface then becomes a point of reference.

An essential brick in the omnichannel strategy

More than ever, consumers want a “seamless” shopping experience, where the physical and digital dimensions intertwine throughout their journey without any obstacles appearing. The store locator is part of this omnichannel strategy by offering reliable information on the brand’s website, while helping the Internet user who has already reserved a product or made a purchase to complete the process.

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A way to measure the effectiveness of the omnichannel strategy

The store locator can even go further and be considered a real omnichannel strategy barometer of the brand through data analysis. To check whether this web page is an effective lead generator for the store, various trackers can be set up by the marketing team, in particular through connection to a CRM.

Initially, it is better to simply measure the attraction felt by Internet users for the store locator by identifying the consumers who locate their store. It will then be possible, depending on the services offered, to observe whether customers who use click and collect or e-reservation believe that the store locator meets their expectations and provides the information requested.

How to create a store locator?

The interest of a store locator

Creating a store locator is essential to any web-to-store strategy (i.e. searching the Internet for a product before going to the store to buy it), app-to-store ( view a product on an application before going to the point of sale) and drive-to-store (the customer is encouraged to go to the nearest store thanks to digital campaigns).

In summary, it allows you to generate in-store flow from the web. A technique not to be overlooked: according to Google figures, the majority of Internet users – i.e. 78% of them – carry out a local search on the Internet before going to a business or a point of sale if it is located less than 8 km from their location.

Create one listing per store

First of all, you have to list all the points of sale that will be listed by the store locator. Do not hesitate to provide filters and sub-categories if the shops are numerous. In this case, giving the possibility to the Internet user to filter by country, then by city and finally by district can be an interesting feature. The important thing is that the organization is as fluid as possible so that it does not get lost along the way.

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Indicate the essential information so that the Internet user can find the point of sale easily

Once the mapping of the points of sale has been finalized, it is time to focus on the description of each store file. Each of them must contain at least:

  • The brand name.
  • The name of the store, which can be followed by the name of the city in which it is located, or even the name of the district or the street, if necessary.
  • A logo that is visible and recognizable quickly.
  • A complete address including all necessary details.
  • All the direct channels to contact the store (phone number, instant messaging, e-mail address or even chatbot).
  • The opening hours to be updated regularly so that customers do not go to the store when it is closed, which would be harmful for the e-reputation of the brand.
  • The parking possibilities around the point of sale (opening hours of the dedicated car park, whether or not parking is free, nearest alternative parking area).
  • The public transport network available to get there (public transport solutions available nearby and the nearest station).

Work on the referencing of each store

Local referencing is essential so that Internet users located near the point of sale can easily find it on the Internet. This is about standing out from the competition in order to win the top spot of the 25% of daily searches that contain a geolocation element on Google. In total, nearly one out of two searches results in a store visit. To work on the local SEO referencing of these listings, here are some tips:

  • Write content: 500 words minimum describing the store and the sign.
  • Display customer reviews on Google Maps: the more favorable the reviews, the better the SEO.
  • Keep a web tree of three clicks maximum from the website to the store locator.
  • Be mobile responsive: one out of two local searches carried out from a smartphone results in a visit during the day.
  • Work the internal mesh locally.
  • Create a profile or page for each store on social networks and link the store locator to it.
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Encourage people to come to the store

Being well referenced is not enough. Each card of a point of sale must be attractive and make you want to go to the store. To do this, there is nothing better than offering directly on the store locator services that Internet users are fond of.

The click and collect

By offering click and collect on the store locator, customers can buy online and then go to the store with a voucher with a QR code to collect their order.

The proposal to make an appointment in store to benefit from a service

Offering customers to make an appointment in-store means allowing them to directly choose the point of sale they want to go to and to adapt to the teams’ schedules.

Personalized promotions

It is possible to remind Internet users that certain promotions are in progress when they visit the store locator. The brand can also choose to create offers dedicated to customers coming from the web in order to encourage them to go to one store rather than another and trigger the desire to buy.

Effective calls-to-action

A blog article features products sold in a shop? A special selection related to current events is in the spotlight on the site? This is the right place to insert attractive links and drive traffic to the brand’s or store’s website from the store locator.

To go further, download this free guide and find out how to set up SMS communication with your customers.How to achieve transactional communication by SMS

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