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What is a store locator?

A store locator is a piece of software (sometimes also called a widget or a script) that helps customers find store locations. It usually consists of these parts:

  • a map,
  • a list of store locations closest to the user and
  • a way to detect user's location.
Store Locator Example
Store Locator Example

A map - popular free options include Google Maps (used by Awesome Store Locator), Bing Maps, Open Street Map. Map can be empty at beginning or pre-filled with location markers.

A list of store locations can be displayed on the left (see example above) or right side or sometimes below the map. Number of locations should be limited - if you have 500 locations, you really don't want to display all of them at the same time. It makes sense to keep the number down to about 20.

Each location on the list is presented with:

  • location's title (or name like Wendy's Cupcake Place),
  • location's image (taken from Google Street View) and
  • distance between user and location.

A way to detect user's locations. Awesome Store Locator uses two ways to detect user's location:

Why does my business need a store locator?

Nowadays, it's practically impossible not to have a website as 81% customers conduct research online before buying.

If you have multiple brick-and-mortar locations or even one, you need a way for your customers to find you. Having a store locator widget on your website makes that extremely easy for your customers.

All they have to do is input their location (manually or allow access to their GPS) and they immediately get precise driving directions to your location.

Store Locator Driving Directions
Precise Driving Directions

Do I need a responsive store locator?

Responsive web design is needed for an optimal viewing and interaction experience with websites across a wide range of devices (from desktop computer monitors to mobile phones).
It means that the website looks pretty and is usable on your good ol' desktop PC and on your slick new iPhone.

68% of U.S. adults own a smartphone and spend more than 3 hours per day using it, so your website, along with your store locator, can't afford to have a crappy mobile experience.

Awesome Store Locator has been written with mobile, tablet and desktop devices in mind - and it looks great on all of them.

Responsive store locator
Responsive store locator on a smartphone

We hope this short blog post answers some of your questions regarding store locator software. If you have any questions, please let us know in the comments below.

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