Consumer demand is at an all-time high, with most of that demand being met online. While a lot of shopping and research does happen completely online, many consumers want or even need to complete the purchase journey in a brick-and-mortar store. This blog explores best practice to help you implement a great multi-channel consumer experience.
There are multiple examples of sectors that can benefit from adding a store finder tool to their digital experience. In retail, for example, the shopper may want to see the quality of a product or test it out first, especially if it holds a high-ticket price or is a ‘one-off’ purchase. And for hotels, restaurants, music venues, theme parks, theatres or museums – where it’s imperative that customers can easily find their nearest - they depend on that perfect online-offline experience.
With the prevalence of external tools such as Google Maps, some would argue that a store locator tool on a website is no longer required, however, there are several reasons why your customer might turn to your site to find their nearest. For example, listing specific facilities available at a local branch, or perhaps they are already on your site and using your store locator in the next natural purchasing step. Plus, did you know that by optimising your store-detail pages, which includes a store locator tool, you can help improve local search by pushing you up the rankings and visibility of each of your locations in SER pages.
The question is perhaps then, not if you should have a store locator on your website (in case you’re wondering the answer is yes), but what should you look for when adding a store locator to your ecommerce or mobile site. The higher the quality of your onsite tools and the better discoverability of these tools, the higher your conversion rates are likely to be.
Some common places where people might find a store locator useful include:
Product-listing pages - by linking a store-locator tool to your product pages you help in-person purchasers avoid the disappointment of investing time researching an item that isn’t locally available.
Location detail pages - providing a list of the facilities available at that location is particularly useful for hotel guests and users researching days out or entertainment venues.
Shopping cart and checkout pages - not everyone wants to pay shipping costs, so allowing users to filter products available by location gives them the option to pick up locally making the shopping experience more pleasurable.
Customer service pages – if your customer needs to return a product in-store adding a link to your store finder on your returns policy or FAQ content will make it an easier journey.
Successfully using a locator involves three steps:
- Finding the locator
- Using the locator to find a conveniently located store
- Getting directions from your starting point to the desired location
UX best practice and recommendations for adding a store locator tool
Don’t hide your store locator
Surprisingly, research shows that some brands hide their store locator deep in the menu structure or in the middle of the home page as a piece of content.
Best practice is to add a link to your store locator within your top-level menu. That prime spot gives a fixed spot that visitors are familiar with and can always go to.
Limit the number of locations displayed
For multiple store locations, avoid showing all of them at once. Limit the store locations displayed that are situated closest to the user’s location, you can effectively do this with geo-location technology. But don’t forget to allow the user to ‘widen the net’ if needed.
Include location-specific details
Consider displaying store opening times along with the contact information and the types of services available (e.g. click & collect, parking, disabled facilities, cafe etc.).
Include clickable phone numbers
Having clickable phone numbers can improve the experience for mobile users. Some users might want a quick way to get in touch whilst travelling and using a store locator.
Make the map interactive
Some people want to be able to expand the map and navigate around to get a better idea of where each store is located or might want to launch travel directions to the store.
Add an image
To make it easy for visitors, especially for those travelling to unfamiliar locations, to identify the store on arrival, consider adding an image of the shop front.
Best practice in action
Recognising that not everyone wants to shop online, our customer The Fragrance shop use the Loqate store finder tool to help direct customers to their nearest store. "We saw the implementation of Store Finder from Loqate as a way to help drive our offline customers to their nearest retail outlet. We needed something that would deliver the best service across our multi-channel market and Loqate's solution ticked all the boxes". Read the full customer story here.
To find out how Find my Nearest from Loqate can help enhance your website user experience by connecting your online journey to offline locations then take a look at our store locator and mapping software solution.