Store Locator


Users need to find a (physical) store close to a specific location


Allow users to 'search' for a store and show the results on a map


Use when

You are designing a site for an organization that has physical stores associated with it. It does not have to be a 'store' but could also be a different department or office of that organization. Typically you find a store locator on E-commerce Site, Corporate Site, Automotive Site or Museum Site. Using a store locator requires that there are a large number of stores to be found, otherwise it is better to simply list the stores.


A store locator is a specific sort of Advanced Search where you are specifically looking for stores, probably in a certain area. Therefore, the basic steps in the process become: Two steps:
  1. Set the (partial) destination location
  2. Set search options, basically a filter on the possible results
  3. Activate the search engine
  4. Show a map with the results marked along with the textual addresses of the results
  5. Search again if the results are not satisfactory
Displaying the Search Results is usually done using a Map Navigator with the store marked as the points of interest. Details about the location of the stores are displayed in text next to the map. The search interface part is also preferably displayed again so that users can adjust their query easily and run a new search.


This pattern is a special version of the advanced search where users can only look for locations. This affects the search interface part and the way results are displayed.

More Examples

At Barnes and Noble users are offered a lot of search options:

The list of results is displayed above the map itself:

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1 comment has been added to this pattern.

Fred Scott Thompson, 30th January 2009
There are two things in the typical store locator implementation that you do not see here:

1) The need to set a search radius. Better to determine the maximum and minimum number of choices that the user would want and deliver somewhere in the middle. Telling someone that you have 100 stores near them is a waste of bandwidth. I am glad the examples above omit this feature.

2) Dealing with "Location Not Found". For a product locator, better to find out where they are and offer them only products that will be found, telling them that products not on the list are unavailable in their area. It takes additional horsepower but the application is "Where to buy my product", not "Take the effort to pick a product of mine that you cannot buy".

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