One of the most powerful draws of eCommerce is that you can manage an entire business from a monitor screen. Y’know, bang on a keyboard and make money come out. I love being able to manage accounting, invoicing, products, and communication for a business entirely from my laptop, no matter where I am in the world.
However, our customers are not inside of our laptops just like our business – they’re out in the real world, and parts of our business need to reach them. They need to know where you are or where to find your products if they’re out there (think brick-and-mortar store, events, and more), which means you may need a way to display store, distributor, event, or pickup locations to your customers.
I’ve recently found a pretty cool app to do just that: StoreMapper.co. You can use StoreMapper’s app to display locations to customers, which can be filtered by category. You can also change the default search radius, whether or not customers can change search radius, add custom location information such as operating hours, and easily integrate it anywhere on your WordPress site.
I’ll go through some basics and three scenarios that I’ve either worked with or have been asked about for WordPress stores and how StoreMapper can work for each.
StoreMapper is a subscription service, so you can get started with a 7 day trial and sign up for a plan that ranges from $7.50 to $30 per month (annual discount; monthly pricing is $9-$39). All plans include some essential features like the ability to bulk-upload a list of locations or export locations to CSV, and maps can be used internationally. StoreMapper even has a mobile display that will use the native Maps app when customers want to get directions to a location.
You can integrate your maps anywhere on your WordPress site, and they can also be integrated on other platforms like Facebook. You can add information about each location, such as website, phone, email, and up to 3 custom fields for information like operating hours or manager names.
Pro & Premium plans also have cool features like the ability to custom style your maps (they’ll inherit your theme’s CSS and can be styled further), and premium plans include an analytics suite:
This can be really powerful for a couple of reasons. First, you can see where search queries are coming from to know where your potential customers are. If you’re looking to add locations, events, or distribution, this can be a great market research tool. Second, you can see which locations have the most searches close to them to adjust your resources (such as staff or number of events) appropriately.
So now that we know some basic information, let’s talk about use cases StoreMapper supports.
Scenario 1: Store & Product Locations
This is the obvious one 😉 . So here’s the scenario:
You have a thriving WordPress eCommerce store – probably powered by one of the plugins we’ve reviewed. However, you have brick-and-mortar locations as well. These may either be stores of your own, or stores that distribute your products.
StoreMapper can be used to add all locations that sell your products outside of your website, and can be embedded on a page or within a widget on your site. Customers can then search for the closest location.
Real-life example: My company had a client that sold their own products via WooCommerce, but also sold products through CVS, Target, and Walmart. Customers wanted to know if they could purchase products elsewhere to avoid shipping costs, so StoreMapper provided a way to upload all distribution locations and easily display them.
Customers could then search for locations that sold these products closest to them by entering their zip code. We embedded the StoreMapper app in a page, then added a link to this locator page from the single product page template with a link that said, “Want to purchase this in-store to avoid the shipping? Check for a location near you.”
This would also work well for directory sites, such as Angie’s list. You can easily map all paid listings in the directory, and visitors can search for listings near them. You can even use custom fields as ratings!
Scenario 2: Events & Appointments
You’re selling tickets for events, probably by using Modern Tribe’s The Events Calendar and integrating it with Easy Digital Downloads, Shopp, WooCommerce, or WP eCommerce. If you’re selling appointments instead of tickets, you might be using WooCommerce Bookings.
StoreMapper can be used to create an interactive map of all event locations. For example, let’s say you’re selling concert tickets for an artist on tour. Customers can enter their location to find the closest event, then you can link to the product page for them to purchase the tickets.
Rather than linking to a “website” for each event, you’ll link to the appropriate product page. Customers can click the “Website” link to view full details and purchase. This way, they can find the event or location closest to them within a couple of minutes and get right to booking those tickets or appointments.
More importantly, they never have to leave your site to do so. Any time someone leaves your site, you run the risk that they won’t return. Give them all of the information needed within your site so they can make purchasing decisions immediately. I’d love to be able to do this for WordCamps close to me 😉 .
Scenario 3: Find a Member
Running a membership site? Hopefully you’re using one of the plugins we’ve reviewed for creating a membership site.
Instead of using StoreMapper to display where you are, you can show your members where other members are located. This can be great for nonprofits or member networks, as members can search for other members close by.
Rather than using the store list for store locations, you can enter each member’s location and their website or contact information (whatever they’ve agreed to make accessible to the network). This can be more effective than just having a public members’ directory or listing depending on what your member network is for. Using your membership plugin, you can restrict the page or post that displays the StoreMapper app to be available to members only so that it’s not accessible to non-member visitors.
Usage & Screenshots
Let’s treat this like a, “Where will you find Beka Rice this month?” game. Kind of like Where’s Waldo?. I’ll map out some of my potential locations to quickly show you how StoreMapper works. I was able to get this set up and running on my site in 7 and a half minutes.
First, I’ve set up my custom fields and basic styling settings under the “Settings” page. If you’re using a Pro or Premium plan, you can change styling. I recommend setting the default width to 100% instead of 750px so that your StoreMapper widget will fill the space it’s in.
Now you can add some locations. I’ve added a few of my favorites, and included basic information like websites, emails for the location, and phone numbers. You can also include a link to a logo or image for that location.
If you don’t want to add locations manually, you can simply upload a list of event or store locations from a CSV to make location addition quick and easy. Even if you don’t have a CSV already made, I’d add one product, export a CSV, enter the rest, then upload it. This will be far easier than adding them all by hand if you have more than 10 or so locations.
When you’re done, you’ll have a handy list of all the locations to be mapped. They don’t have to be in the same geographical area, as StoreMapper will map the entire list at once for customers to browse. You could enter locations country-wide, as customers will be able to search the location list and zoom into a map location.
Now you’ll need to grab your embed code to place on your site. You can get this by clicking the “Embed Code” button from the dashboard:
Copy this code and add it to your site and you’re done! I recommend any of the following locations:
- Standalone page
- Blog Post
- Contact page
- Text widget*
- Product page tab
- Add to any page/post template
*If you use this in a text widget in the sidebar, you may want to adjust the styling, as it doesn’t scale well to 300px or so without a bit of tweaking. However, this works extremely well when you have a widgetized homepage and want to add your StoreMapper widget into a space.
And here’s what our final product will look like:
Easy peasy 🙂 . No, really: I like that it’s very simple to use and you can add stores with individual or bulk options. You can start a trial of your own to map out event or store locations, directory listings, and even display member network lists: