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Let Customers find you!

Updated: Sep 21, 2020

The best way to use Store Locator New Maps Customization Feature from Google Maps Platform.

With the launch of the New Google Maps Customization Feature, it's the perfect time for Retailers to benefit from the Store Locator feature on the Google Maps Platform!

Here, we will talk about:

  • The importance of Store Locator to retailers

  • What Store Locator is

  • The benefits for your clients and your website

  • Best Practice for an efficient Google Maps Store Locator

1. The importance of Store Locator to Retailers?

We use Google Maps daily, from navigating to a grocery store and seeing what restaurants are nearby, to finding the location of the nearest pharmacy.

As a Retailer, you’ll want your business on Google Maps for several reasons:

  • It’s the backbone of your multi-channel(web to store) strategy

It’s important for brick-and-mortar stores to create a Global Digital Strategy that links their online shopping experience to their offline shopping experience.

  • It supports your offline sales

“Online sales will grow almost three times as fast as in-store sales during the period 2018– 2023”*
  • The Research Online Purchase Offline trend:

Digital is a critical touchpoint before a store visit and most South African consumers research online but still purchase offline. Over 40%** of South African consumers first check online to see whether a product is available in a local store before physically visiting the store.

In South Africa, 98% of sales still took place in brick-and-mortar stores in December 2019. Online pre-sales is underestimated by Marketers.

A Store Locator will lead to an excellent digital experience and could lead to more in-store sales.

2. What is a Store Locator?

This feature allows your clients to quickly and easily geolocate your closest physical store when they are on your website or app.

They can locate their address using their GPS geolocation or by them completing their address with Autocomplete Google API or zip code.

Here’s an example from Woosmap, a French company who developed a Store Locator for Total:

3. What are the benefits of a Store Locator for your clients and your website?

  • Quick and easy location of the nearest physical store.

  • Access information relating to the nearest store: (opening hours and days, address, contact number).

  • Quickly manage information concerning points of sale independently (timetables, special openings, etc.)

  • Easily retrieve the store access map. The user can trace their route via Google Maps in just a few clicks.

  • Reasurance for a user. The Internet user is fully aware that they will have a physical store next to their home in the event that they need it (e.g. an after-sales operation).

  • It boosts local SEO (search engine optimization). It is advisable to create a "store sheet" for all existing physical establishments. It's within these files that information relating to the store will be entered (address, contact, etc.). If these files are created efficiently in terms of natural referencing, they will go up in rank in Google's search results. This allows your clients to access the information they are looking for even faster. For example, when a user types "Spar Pretoria", the first natural result is the Store Locator file dedicated to Pretoria stores. A referencing on Google My Business coupled with SEO-optimized store files can significantly increase in-store traffic, and local pages can rank high in Google search results (SERP).

  • It allows display optimization for all media (computer, smartphone and tablet).

4. How to optimize your Store Locator with New Maps Customization Feature from Google Maps Platform

Build your store locator with Google Maps Platform interactive maps to customize and optimize your Store Locator even more than ever before.

Here are the new features that will ensure you build your Store Locator successfully:

  • Maps customization, styling, and management in the Cloud. You can create, customise and manage your maps style with Google Maps thanks to Cloud Based Maps Styling.

  • An elegant Maps experience with Vector Maps. Marker Collision Management allows developers to easily keep the most important markers and info on the map of your store locator, and even delete the base map information. Much more information and customizable info can be displayed, like richer POIs or more labels - without making the map cluttered and unreadable.

  • Increased control over POIs displayed on your maps. Google Maps Platform provides information on about 200 million businesses and places around the world. Before they were all grouped into one large POI category labelled “Business”. But now, with Business POI filtering, Google Maps Platform introduces 5 sub-categories: lodging, shopping, food & drink, car rental, and gas stations.

For instance, as a Retailer, your Store Locator will display restaurants but filter out the locations of retail competitors.
  • POI Density Control. This allows you to increase or decrease the number of POIs displayed on your map. For instance, as a Retailer you can display the nearby restaurants and attractions to potential customers on its search map and filter out retailer competitors.

By combining Marker Collision Management, Business POI Filtering, and POI Density Control, you create a more reliable, distinctive Store Locator which brings real value to your final users.

All those features are launch in beta.

Once available, ‘Map Management’ and ‘Map Styles’ tabs will appear in the Google Maps Platform section of the Cloud Console over the coming weeks.

As a Google Maps Premier Partner, we are happy to advise all businesses who want to implement and use these new features on Google Maps Platform.

Do not hesitate to join us here or by email:

As a Premier Partner, we can offer you a volume discount according to your Google Maps API usage.

The 28East Team.

* Accenture 2019: “Rethink the eCommerce opportunity in South Africa: How retailers can pivot to digital customers”)

** Google's 2019 Consumer Shopping Research Report with Ipsos

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