Why is a Store Locator Important for Your CPG?

Here’s a question for CPG brands: do you know exactly how your customers find your products? 

Are they stumbling across them as they browse the aisles of their local grocery store? Perhaps they’ve been drawn in by a particular promotion? Maybe it’s your latest ad campaign which has caught their eye?

Whatever the source, one thing is clear: to be a success in CPG — and to even shift units at all — your potential customers need to be able to find you when they want to. 

It’s here that the store locator on your website can work its magic. 

Why is a store locator important for your CPG’s website? It might be a simple addition, but as you’ll see below, your website’s store locator can be the key to greater CPG sales. 

Four mini flag pins, three blue and one red, laid out on a pale pink surface​​

4 reasons why a store locator is an important addition to your website

It’s the final step in your online customer funnel

In today’s digital-first world, websites naturally do a lot of the heavy-lifting when it comes to marketing a product. But CPG brands, with their reliance on product discovery taking places in the aisles of grocery stores, often have to take a different approach. 

Does that mean you need to focus exclusively on real-world promotion and skip digital altogether? Absolutely not. 

In fact, there’s no reason your CPG brand can’t enjoy the same benefits of the digital space as any non-CPG or pure-play digital brand does. How does a store locator factor into all of this? Well, just as a digital product’s funnel may end with a customer either placing an order for that product on the website or contacting a company to learn more, the call-to-action (CTA) for a CPG brand can actually be the store locator. 

Here’s an example scenario of how this might work in practice: 

  1. A customer is looking for a specific CPG product: a box of healthy cereal, for example.

  2. They do a quick search online and spot an ad for your brand. It looks like it checks all the right boxes and (of course) it looks delicious too, so they click the ad.

  3. They know they can’t order the cereal online, so they wonder where they can find a box. 

  4. Their next port of call? The store locator. It quickly gives them the info they need about where to find the cereal and how close the nearest store is. Simple, quick, and a new customer for your CPG brand. 

A store locator takes the guesswork out of finding your products in store for customers

Store locators actually serve multiple important purposes.

First, they allow potential customers to find out if their local store stocks your CPG brand. Next, they offer opening times for those stores. Finally, they’ll sometimes provide estimated stock levels for specific products. All of these factors come together to give your brand the best possible chances of having a customer seek out and purchase your products. 

If we’re being completely honest, we all recognize that CPG customers can be somewhat fickle when it comes to brand loyalty. Sure, you’ll have your ardent mainstays, but other folks will be influenced by how much friction (financial, logistical, or otherwise) it takes to actually get the SKU in their hands. 

With this in mind, a store locator can actually reduce the friction in the sale, because it takes all of the guesswork out of the process. Let’s say a previous customer has the urge to buy your product, but they’re not sure if it’s in stock or even if they have a stockist nearby. Are they really going to go all the way to the store to find out? That’s friction. By offering an easy-to-find store locator on your website, they can simply search for your product, find the site, enter their ZIP code, and boom — the product is theirs within minutes. 

It helps potential customers understand your brand’s market position

Let’s face it: not every customer is going to be a diehard dedicated fan of your brand. 

They might instead be simply interested to learn more about it or to try it out for themselves. This is doubly true for CPG brands that occupy more of a niche in the market, like artisanal goods, health foods, and so on. In this case, you might find that you have visitors to your website who want to know more about your SKUs, but don’t necessarily want to seek them out right away. Instead, they want to get a sense of where your brand sits in the market compared to similar brands. 

They could do this by keeping your product in mind, visiting a local store, then comparing like-for-like right there in the grocery aisle. But that’s not likely to happen too often. 

So here’s another reason why a store locator is important: it will help your prospective customers understand where your CPG brand sits vs. your competitors in the market. By showing exactly where your brand is available for purchase, it’ll help answer questions like:

  • Is this brand only available in specific niche stores?
  • Does the store I already visit regularly carry this particular product?
  • Is this product in my price range? 

In this way, a store locator can help you target every corner of your potential market, even if they’re simply doing a bit of digital window shopping. 

Store locators help prevent lost sales due to unknown stock levels

Believe it or not, store locators can play an important role in preventing lost sales. 

Think of them as a safety net for those customers who love your brand but aren’t quite ready to take the gamble of going all the way to the store to see whether or not it’s in stock. 

If you’ve ever had the urge to buy a specific product but you’re not sure if it’ll be in stock or not, chances are you’ll err on the side of caution and simply buy something else. (Though, for those that seek out your product anyway, you’ll know who your real superfans are).

As a CPG brand, every time a consumer decides not to buy your product because they’re not sure if it’s in stock, you’re missing out on a sale and a potential lifetime customer.  

A properly configured store locator is the answer here.

With the right features — specifically, a stock level notification option — you’ll be able to tell your customers from your website whether your product is in stock locally or not. By doing this, you’re reducing the friction of the sale, building brand loyalty, and removing roadblocks to future purchases. In addition, if your customer really wants your product, they may even be willing to go a little further afield to another store just to get it in their basket. That’s customer loyalty. 

It’s a small thing, sure, but every little helps when it comes to building a CPG brand that stands the test of time. 

Need a little help getting your CPG brand in the spotlight?

At Buffalo Market, there’s not much we don’t know about supercharging results for CPG brands. So, if you want to know how you can help your prospective customers find your CPG brand in the aisles of the grocery store — and keep coming back — we’re here to help.

Get in touch today and we can help you develop a distribution and expansion strategy which will light a fire under your brand and see your SKUs take flight.

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