John wants to buy a new television so, like most consumers, he starts his search on the internet, typing “buy television near me” into Google.  Most of the results are for large, ecommerce businesses like Walmart and Amazon—but John wants to buy from a local business he feels will help him if he needs to return his new set or runs into some other kind of trouble.

The first business he clicks on takes John to the website of a local appliance store.  John likes their products and prices, but he wants to know more about the business—where it’s located, when it’s open and what it looks like.  Unfortunately, he can’t find good information on the company’s website, so he goes to Google Maps.  The information he finds there isn’t especially helpful, so John decides to look for a different business.

The second seller is different.  John not only finds good information about their televisions, but also about their business, everything from great photos to addresses and phone numbers for all 3 of their local stores.  John likes the way this second company saved him time by helping him quickly find the information he needs.  He gets in his car and drives to the closest of their 3 locations.

WHAT IS A STORE LOCATOR?

The second site John visited was using store locator software, and it’s the reason it ultimately got his business.  As Google correctly points out, store locators do more than tell users the physical location of your brick and mortar store(s)—they also provide the kind of valuable information about your business that promotes brand awareness, trust and loyalty:

“If you have ever searched the internet for a retail establishment, chances are you’ve used a store locator application. In its simplest form, a store locator displays a set of markers representing locations on a map, to help users find the nearest location of a business they are interested in visiting. Store locators can also show related information such as operating hours, address, phone number, photos, and food menus. A store locator might also differentiate between locations based on various criteria, such as whether a particular product or service is offered.”

WHY A STORE LOCATOR MATTERS TO YOUR BUSINESS

According to Business 2 Community, more than 75% of consumers do some kind of online research before visiting a brick and mortar store.  Typically, that means checking out customer review sites like Yelp, Angie’s List and Manta.  But it also means looking for key information on the company’s website.

The question for you, in other words, is not whether prospective customers will visit your website before visiting your physical store—the question is how useful the information they find there is.  Powerful store locator software will ensure that consumers searching for businesses like yours will find the answers to their top-of-mind questions on your website—and that can be a game changer for your business.

HOW WILL A STORE LOCATOR HELP YOUR BUSINESS?

Every business is different, of course, with different customers and prospective customers, different business goals and different marketing challenges.  That said, both large and small, B2B and B2C companies—as well as those with a single or multiple locations, tend to see similar benefits from incorporating a store locator, including the following 5:

1.  IT WILL BOOST YOUR SEARCH ENGINE RANKINGS

Some benefits of a store locator are obvious—the fact that prospective customers for your business can more easily find your physical store or stores.  Other equally important benefits are sometimes overlooked, and chief among these is enhancing your business’s ranking in search results.

Today, more than 40% of all searches are local.  Search engines like Google reward businesses that provide helpful content, the kind a store locator provides, with higher search engine rankings.  That means greater visibility for your business, and increased traffic to your website. 

2.  IT WILL BOOST CUSTOMER LOYALTY

Consumers tend to be loyal to businesses that help them and give them the information they need to make informed buying decisions, a concept fundamental to successful inbound marketing campaigns.  When effectively leveraged, a store locator will help your customers and prospective customers find your business, know when you’re open, and for businesses with multiple locations, discover which has the product they want, a special discount or is closest to their home.  In helping your customers save both time and money, you’ll gain their trust and loyalty.

3.  IT WILL MAKE YOUR WEBSITE “STICKY”

The more often customers visit your website, the greater the odds they’ll visit your physical store location, this because each site visit increases their level of engagement.  This is the reason web designers include “sticky” elements—features that bring customers back again and again—to the sites they design.  By installing a store locator, you’ll be giving consumers valuable information about your business not available on sites like Google Maps.  More value means more site visits—and more site visits means more sales for you.

4.  IT WILL MAKE YOUR PHYSICAL STORE MORE EFFICIENT

How many calls does your business get each week from customers requesting basic information, like your address or product availability?   Placing this information on your website (through your store locator) will free up your in-store staff to do what they do best:  provide outstanding service to customers and prospective customers.

5.  IT WILL ENHANCE MARKET RESEARCH

Odds are your business utilizes a host of tools to gather customer data that helps you market your products and services more effectively, everything from your analytics platform to customer satisfaction surveys.  A store locator will provide additional data about the things in which your customers are most interested, whether that’s the products your offer or the hours you’re open.  You can use the insights these data provide to substantially enhance the effectiveness of both the way your stores operate to the marketing campaigns you launch.

IN CONCLUSION

Installing store locator software can increase the visibility of your business, build trust and loyalty, boost site traffic and help your learn more about your customers to better serve them.  But to maximize impact, it’s critically important that you get the best store locator option on the market.  That’s where we can help. 

To learn more about the ways our store locator will help you achieve your principal marketing objectives—and take your business to the next level—contact us today.