What is a store locator and why do I need one?
Often whenever you read certain advertisements or catalogues, it will tell you that some items must be bought in store. They then tell you to see out your nearest local outlet to speak to their staff in person. However, it is often the case that people do not know where their local store is for particular goods. It is often recommended that the customer use an online store locator. This is a function with allows the customer to enter their address details into a database, and it queries the location of stores in relation to the address that is closest to the customer.
These are typically discovered on the websites of businesses who have multiple premises. This allows the visitor to locate the specific locations of their stores on a map. This type of system is very popular with chain stores, hotels and food outlets.
In addition to simply bringing up the geographical position of the store on a map, it will also produce useful contact information such as their address, postal code, open hours, phone number and for the particularly good example, software which shows you the directions to the store from your location.
Sometimes the search can be refined according to specialized criteria. For example you can input into your store locator that you only want stores that open during lunch hour. The search tool will them emit all results which do not conform with your criteria. The result is, you find the position of the store which is exactly what you are looking for.
This type of software typically makes use of the ZIP code data. This is a database which stores all of the ZIP codes in a given area into a list. The store locator has access to such a resource and it discriminates its results based on it.
Another popular method is to use the IP address of the device which is used to access the service. This give a position relating to your real time position, not just to the area defined by your postal code. This can be especially useful if you find yourself in an unfamiliar area.
So there you have it - that is a store locator.