Wheat Wrote WHAT?!

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August 28th, 2009 at 00:36 am

Zip Codes and Store Locators

You already know why Zip Codes are important, because the NINE digit zip code can be used by many Mapping Applications such as MapQuest.com to get driving directions WITHOUT typing in a complete address.

What many of our supplier/manufacturer/distributor friends have not yet realized is how important this added info is to making their “Store Locator” Traveler Friendly and how including the nine-digit zip can aid in that traveler finding a local shop when traveling.

More years ago than I care to admit – we met Harry Newton at Silicon Valley conference where he was also a speaker – his wit and wisdom about the telecom industry are legendary.

Harry Newton’s Telecom Dictionary is now in its 25th edition,; we bought the first at that conference. We are such fans that we, until some recent book divestiture, owned many copies as they were updated, but kept the old for “future reference”.

To the Point, EVEN back then, Harry was stressing that EVERY page of your catalog should have your order telephone number. Today that advice would be your order telephone, your URL AND your Address with nine-digit zip.

Why? Because that makes it EASIER for someone to buy from you. I cannot tell you how many times I have ‘ripped out a page’ because I was only interested in THAT item – only to come back later and find no order info on the page. (Are you all headed for St Charles listening?)

Nor can I tell you how often I have given up in frustration trying to figure out where to find the address and shop hours on ANY of thier pages. Remember search engines do not always index your first/home/main page first – especially if you do not update on a regular basis.

MANY people will print out a web page as a “hint” to give family and friends – so make sure that ALL you info is going to show on that page –

Now, here we are today, with Manufacturer and Distributors doing many inventive things to help their Retailers and especially the Indies “to be found” but they often make it as difficult as possible to find that Retailer… and it is such an easy fix…

If a Manufacturer/Distributor/Self-Publishing Pattern/Chart Author does NOT include at least the FIVE and better yet the NINE digit zip code in each store listing – then the consumer cannot easily use a mapping application to find and visit the shop.

If a Manufacturer/Distributor does not allow search by Town OR State OR ZipCode and as two of the people involved in developing the FIRST find-a-store application we think AND “GREAT CIRCLE SEARCH RESULTS for AREA CODE and exchange (next 3 digits) are also important.

There are enough applications out that that allow the shop to update their own info – why not host one on your site and make it easier for consumers to find and buy from your retailers.

just some things to think about.


  • 1

    Great article Wheat! It made me go check my site and I see that I have to ask my web developer to add things to some of the pages.

    I work with my wholesaler, who has a list of her stores on her web site. She is not familiar with applications that would allow shops to update their own info. Do you have some suggestions for where to find those? I know she would appreciate the information.


    Denise on September 24th, 2009
  • 2

    Funny you should ask, a favorite developer of ours just sent a notice about a plug in that does this.

    If it works, I will likely mention it in the TNNA Designer group.

    wheat on September 25th, 2009


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