Everyone who is trying to buy something online or tried to find direction to store, noticed a small link on a store website like: “Where to buy”, “Locate a ..”, “Find a store”, “Find us” and many others interpretation of the same simple concept of getting customer to buy from your business.
This is simple but at the same time very powerful way to engage with potential customer and getting them though all steps to buy from you, starting from finding your website, find a product in specific category and finally getting direction to supplier location.
Maps are everywhere
I remember the time when I was trying to buy power bank while traveling to Berlin. I typed in search box things I needed to buy and follow a web site with list of products I was searching for. Then I clicked on a store locator and there was just a plain list with street names and zip codes of store locations.
Guess what? I closed browser tab and headed to another website with the similar products and then I saw the same plain dump of addresses which I needed copy-past to map search box and try to figure out what store location is the closest to my location. Iterating over the next couple websiteі I found the one which provides detailed map of where to buy, how to get over there from my location and even delivery to hotel. That’s was the place I bought product even their website was not in top 10 on Google search results.
What can you learn from this? Attention to small details like this can benefit your business in significant way. You see all those stores that were sorted out even they were first in the list? And the choice fell to the one with best customer user experience.
I like maps and want to show you how well known companies use “store locator” to drive customers to there stores and what can you learn from them.
#1 Store Locator: Apple
Store list on the left side is abbreviated with letters in alphabetical order. It’s easier to remember: store C in Boston MA and latter scroll list to match C letter than hold in memory: Apple CambridgeSide, 100 CambridgeSide Place, Cambridge, MA 02141.
Going to store details:
Photos of store with detailed street address & phone number and opening hours. Going to Driving directions and map:
Now, there is a full map with branded marker and “How to get here:” section. I like this one, it’s like your friend telling you in simple words how get there, what exit to get if you are getting there by car or public transit and where to park.
#2 Store Locator: Sprint
Sprint is one of the largest mobile network operator in US, so it provides filtered stores by Repairs, Sales, Bill payments, etc. As you probably noticed – marker on a map in different shapes to differentiate between regular and repair store.
Click on particular item in a list shows you list of services, opening hours, scheduling appointment and one nice feature is “Text to my phone or email” which is very convenient when you don’t have time write things down.
If you an existing customer you can click on “Make appointment” then fill out needed information and get into the queue without getting on the phone.
And finally, driving direction both in map view and text representation, emphasizing in bold style direction and street name.
#3 Store Locator: Tesco
Tesco store locator is very informative in terms of services, accessibility, facilities, opening hours (see that Open Now green text on white background). Opening hours section divided by Cafe/Phone which is nice attention to details for your customer.
#4 Store Locator: ALDI
ALDI shows store details in pop-up window on a map with payments, hours, parking availability and Weekly Ad. Actually that’s a good way to get customer attention to show them deals of the week in particular store.
#5 Store Locator: Target
Target store locator design is clean and light, it’s not loaded with banners and stuff. There is no map when you typed address in search box but there is a pretty clean-looking list of stores, tiled like list with phone number and opening hours.
On the right side there is a list of nearby stores near this one, so you can select another one which is working to the late night.
Here we have detailed map of stores in different categories which is a good way to find what you need instead of wander around.
You can set current store as my store, so whenever you are trying to search for something on Target website, the my store will be use as default location where you can get your ordered stuff.
Here you are, your store is marked as my store.
#6 Store Locator: Walmart
Walmart stores clustered on map with the detailed list on the left side. You are here is your location retrieved when you allow geolocation in the internet browser.
In store details there is another field for stock search in this store.
You can refine search on store locator to filter by store features, distance, etc.
Store info shows you weekly ad, store saving and Make this my store.
My Store feature to make it fast to search for items in particular store.
#7 Store Locator: Staples
Here is the separate section for Store Events which list upcoming classes or educational events.
#8 Store Locator: SainsBurys
Store locator is full page map with search box and Search as I move the map, which updates list of stores when you are navigating map.
Additional to address/phone there is a name of Store manager.
Map and text view of direction to store using Car/Walk/Cycle/etc.
#9 Store Locator: Lowes
#10 Store Locator: T-Mobile
T-Mobile store locator contains in-store wait feature to get rough estimate how long to wait in a queue.
Here is the fancy picture of store and you get in line next in in-store wait label.
#11 Store Locator: J.Crew
#12 Store Locator: Best Buy
#13 Store Locator: Whole Foods
Local sales or flyers or weekly ads is a nice feature in your website to drive customers to your stores to use discounts. Actually there is a Download Sales Flyer as PDF, so you can save it to mobile phone and use later.
#14 Store Locator: Sears
#15 Store Locator: Home Depot
There is Upcoming Workshop section which list events customers can take part in.
#16 Store Locator: Starbucks
#17 Store Locator: McDonald’s
#18 Store Locator: FedEx
#19 Store Locator: 7-Eleven
#20 Store Locator: MTG
Here is the brief summary what you can learn from above companies:
- Don’t throw list of addresses to customer, keep it easy for them to find your business. Use map with additional list view.
- Use branded markers. Don’t use default Google maps markers.
- Differentiate markers based on your store type, is it service? Pick-up point? Regular store? Make it visible on a map.
- Don’t restrict yourself to put only store location on markers. Store locator is just another way to get customer to buy from you. Add weekly ads, events.
- Add My Store feature to set you customer default store. That’s not only default store location from your store list, but your competitors as well.
- Add photos of store to make it more visible and transparent for customer.
- Add directions to your store on map as well as in text representation. See Apple store locator example.
- Add opening hours, services, phone numbers, store manager name, etc., and what’s more important is make this information up to date.
- Enjoy 🙂