A large European retailer opened its first U.S.-based store in Summer 2017. By the end of 2018, they were slated to open around 75 stores total. Coming into the U.S. meant coming into a hyper-competitive market and as a result, this retailer had to ensure its stores were heavily marketed and easy to find. Developing a website and native application made it easy for users to research, locate, and navigate to their nearest store.
During May 2018 as part of an overall principle to focus on efficiency and continuous iteration, WillowTree implemented changes that affected the design and navigation around stores within the native app. These changes allow users to find stores in a few ways:
Making it easier to search for and find store information
- Increased amount of users searching for and finding stores
- Increased amount of users selecting Google Places autocomplete location suggestions
- Increased amount of users finding important information (directions and favorites) on primary search results cards
- Research and employ 6 Google Places APIs to create improved searching, plotting, and navigating to stores
- Implement design enhancements to highlight important store information on primary search result cards
- Collect customized data to analyze the effect of web and native application changes on business goals
Search by latitude and longitude: The apps can supply the API with a latitude and longitude. In return the API returns nearby stores. This is used by the apps when executing “search near me” queries.
Search by postal code: Users can search by postal code. This search makes a request to the mobile api with the supplied postal code; the mobile api turns the postal code into a latitude and longitude using the Azure Maps Service; and then it returns a list of stores near that coordinate.
Search by string: The Google Places API allows us to geocode arbitrary strings to locations, so instead of looking for stores with “Richmond” in their address, we can look for stores near the Google supplied latitude and longitude for the Richmond metro area. Additionally, UI enhancements including an addition of store hours, addresses, and a “set store” call to action resulted in an improvement in a user’s ability to quickly search for seek information about stores.