Many brick and mortar retail stores or businesses offer online store locators. We’ve recently had a new Walgreens pharmacy and Sears store open by our home. This week, I needed to find the store hours for both of these new locations. Knowing that they wouldn’t be in my out-of-date phone book, I turned to their respective websites.
Both sites had a little store locator link in the upper right corner of their home page. After clicking on this, I saw two different approaches to help me find the store.
Sears went with a cluttered page and confusing instructions. Although the instructions said I had a choice between zip code or address, the text fields were all grouped together:
Walgreens clearly showed that I could enter a zip code or address.
For your online store locator, give the visitor a simple form that allows them to search using the information they have. Don’t force the user to give you so much information that it impedes them from completing the task. Take what they can give you and extrapolate the rest.
Walgreens beat out Sears hands down with their individual store pages. They show address, hours, map, and phone numbers:
Sears spreads their information across two pages. One for a map and another for store departments. Which one should I choose to find the store hours? Neither, because they don’t have that information!
Walgreens’ site was most effective because they combined all the information I needed on one page. I was able to find what I was looking for and then continue on with my day without undue frustration. I had but one simple query for both sites. Why did Sears need to make such a production of it?
When you add a store locator to your website, remember to keep the search simple and give as much information about your stores as you can in one glance. Overly complicated search entry and result pages will put barriers between you and your potential customer’s money. If the customer can’t find your store information online, they may never visit your retail location, and you’ll never make the sale.