Off the iStreet and into the Highstreet

Omni-channel is the new black, with more and more consumers researching online before purchasing in store. Today’s customer can choose where to buy, when to buy and who to buy from with tremendous ease. There’s no limit to the way customers use channels and devices to save time and get the information they need, and they are hopping across channels and devices like never before. When it comes to improving the omni-channel experience, there are hundreds of industry experts, tools, and insights expressing their pearls of wisdom. One overlooked and perhaps less glamorous method is the store finder tool. But if you think the store finder on your site is simply a listing of your bricks-and-mortar stores, you are missing a great opportunity to improve the customer experience and boost sales. Here’s a quick glance at the store locators of a few well-known brands showing the best ways to implement a store finder.

Allow searches by postcode and location

Provide a single field that can search for a whole range of users’ details. Presenting separate fields for address, city and postcode is common, like in the example from The Body Shop below, but this just over-complicates things. It’s far better to display a single field that can accept a variety of inputs.

Postcode and location search

The Entertainer allows their customers to search by town, city or postcode, making it easy for customers to find their nearest store. What’s even more intuitive is how the site allows you to browse the stores by region, so the user doesn’t have to type a thing if they don’t want to.

Store Finder

Add images

If you’re trying to get more people through the doors making it easy for them to find your store is essential. Adding an image is a great way of helping your customers identify the area and location more quickly, but just make sure you avoid using rich media like flash or videos. In most cases, flash will do nothing for your site other than slowing the whole process down but more importantly, some computers and mobile devices don’t support it at all.

The Entertainer store fronts

Set preferred locations

Allow your customers to save their nearest store as a preference so you can highlight relevant information and services to your customers. This provides a far more personalised shopping experience encouraging offline shopping. The Hotel Chocolat site has this down to a tee and even provides you with a friendly picture of the local Store Manager.

Store Manager

Optimise for mobile

Many shoppers will look for information on shops when they’re out and about from a mobile device. With your shoppers potentially minutes from your store, it’s important your store find tool is fully optimised for mobile use. Warehouse’s approach is quick and easy involving very little input from the user.

Warehouse Mobile

Be helpful

Make sure you provide your users with as much information on your stores as possible. Most store finders will provide users with basic information such as store hours and contact details but there are missing a great opportunity to provide their customers with useful content. Pizza Hut provides a key on their store finder, allowing customers to learn more about what facilities are on offer at each restaurant, if there are disabled facilities and even where they can find their nearest ice cream factory!

Pizza Hut

Pay attention to detail

It is the little things in life that count, according to the old adage, and this is certainly true as far as user experience is concerned. Not only is Asda Tyres’ store finder quick and easy to use, the Street View icon in Google Maps is provided with a tyre when you search for your nearest tyre fitter.

Asda Tyres

So to wrap up adding a store finder can provide your customer’s with a wealth of information, virtually eliminating any enquiries asking where to find you. Brands that can integrate sales channels for consumer research and purchasing will undoubtedly achieve higher levels of customer satisfaction.