Helping customers find their local store as quickly as possible remains a cornerstone of building brand loyalty. Especially as the popularity of options like curbside pickup skyrockets, it’s more important than ever to help customers find you.
By showing all your locations to customers on a map and helping them find and navigate to the nearest one, you can drive more foot traffic to your stores, restaurants or branches. Google reported “near me” mobile searches grew 136% YOY, and 76% of these searches result in a customer visiting the business within a day.
The Google Maps Platform (GMP) Store Locator Plus solution can help create a seamless user experience for your customers by utilising a combination of GMP API’s. This diagram shows the core API’s involved in implementing the Store Locator Plus.
To help you further understand how the Store Locator Plus solution can work for your business, we have provided a use case and resources so you can start building and customising your own.
Locating your closest bank branch
After your customer finds the closest branches, it’s important to give them meaningful place details to help them make a decision about which branch to visit. Using the Places API, you can provide place details like contact information, hours of operation, user rating, user photos, and temporary closure status all in the side panel. By building a store locator you also have the opportunity to display local offers in the side panel and give the ability to book an appointment at the bank branch.
Lastly, you want to show your customer the travel time and distance to the nearest branch location, and help them get there. Using the Distance Matrix API you can calculate the travel distance and travel time for multiple origins and destinations, specifying various forms of transport such as walking, driving, or cycling. Then, using the Directions API you can provide navigation directions from within your app or site.
Bonus: Google Maps Platform lets you style your map in ways that help reinforce your brand and also help users find the closest location. For example, you can create custom map markers and style the map to match your brand colours. You can also display (or hide) specific points of interest on your map to help users better orient themselves, and control marker density to prevent map clutter.
Our Google Cloud Engineer, Matt, has built an interactive demo where you can view the different map styles. Try it out here.
Build it now!
So, you want to build a Store Locator Plus for your business but don’t know where to start? Good news! Just last month Google Maps introduced Quick Builder, a free, low code map builder which allows you to demo, customise and build a version of the Store Locator Plus solution for your website. Quick Builder is accessible in the Google Console which lets you build a Locator using an interactive user interface that generates code for you. This code also happens to be mobile-friendly, which is a great bonus.
Google Maps also provides a number of map starter templates. You can create or modify map styles in the Google Cloud Console Map Styles page in your Quick Builder project.
How can Liveli help?
Our team at Liveli knows Google Maps back-to-front because we are a Google Cloud Premier Partner for Location-based services. Get in touch to speak with a member of the team who can help set up or improve your store locator.
About the author: Amy Boyes
Amy is the Marketing and Events Officer at NGIS Australia.