Store locators use map-based platforms to help guide customers to their physical stores. If you’ve ever come across a store locator using Google Maps, you’re not alone — it’s very popular. But it’s not the only maps platform you can use. Let’s take a look at some alternatives.
Mappy is an international maps platform that’s particularly popular in France. Broadly, it allows users to search via three ways:
- Planning a search: a standard search for an address
- Product search: find products near a given address, filtered by price, availability and other criteria
- Route search: drawing a route between two or several addresses
With 10 million unique users monthly, Mappy is innovating how users view and use data from different points of interest all over the world, enabling users to make quick decisions when deciding a restaurant or finding a retailer. While the platform is comprehensive, in order to list on Mappy.com, you need to be registered with one of its partner business directories: PagesJaunes, Accorhotels, Booking and TheFork. However, when using with a store locator solution, you can integrate with this platform without registering.
In Russia, Google doesn’t rule the roost when it comes to internet domination. A firm called Yandex does, enjoying 88.39% of internet traffic in the country. It’s also popular in Ukraine, Germany and Turkey. Like Google, it operates a number of different internet services, including email, web browser and a map platform. Yandex is a strong contender if you're setting up new stores in Russia, however for other parts of the world there are other mapping solutions that will offer you more extensive results.
Russia has Yandex, China has Baidu. The phenomenally popular web services company has almost complete dominance over China’s internet market, and hopes to go global too. But is its map platform useful? Well, if you’re expanding into China then yes, very possibly. Baidu currently has over 348 million active monthly users, that’s more than the population of the US, with an aim to transform from a Chinese map provider to a world map provider in the near future. Also be aware that there are some controversies surrounding Baidu, or more specifically the Chinese government — including allegations that some of its search results are censored.
There are further limitations to integrating map platforms into a store locator. Some maps can be limited and difficult to implement — this guide explains that you’d have a number of hoops to jump through to integrate Google Maps, including registering in the Google API Console and doing some coding.
- Allow customers to geolocate their location on their mobile devices, finding stores closest to them, or manually searching for locations
- Add useful filters — like types of product — which gives customers flexibility to search for stores that best suit them
- Add a store locator function to all your channels — so not just your website, but your Facebook as well, widening your reach
- Drive online to offline conversions by adding call to action buttons on results pages
- Use analytics to look at user behaviour, learning what works and what needs improving
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