New Store Locator Technology Helps Customers Find Businesses

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The gap between online and offline business grows ever closer as the new Google Maps API enables programmers to write applications for websites that allows customers to find store locations more easily and efficiently.

Szuper PHP Store Locator

A group of savvy programmers from Europe were asked to write a web application to enable potential customers an easy way to find the nearest vegan restaurant to them. After spending days testing pre-existing 'store locators' they decided what they wanted didn't exist and wrote their own. The end result is nothing short of an extremely useful little piece of technology. 

The name of this new online gadget is the Szuper PHP Store Locator, and it allows people to view a map containing all of a businesses physical locations around the world. Clicking on the location brings up the stores physical address, phone number, web address and a 'get directions' link. It also enables the user to enter their current location and select a radius and the software displays all the stores within the given radius. 

Since Google released version 3 of their Google Maps API, this kind of processing became much faster than before under previous versions, and tasks such as zooming, panning and searching now operate nicely, making the whole experience very pleasant. 

Similar software already exists, but when there is a large number of stores, the icons on the map representing each store appear on top of each other and look like a mess. The beauty of this application is that it automatically clusters large numbers of stores together and displays a circle with a number on it showing how many stores are in each location, which may seem like a simple enough idea, but the results are quite astounding when applied to a business existing in many locations, as it gives customers an accurate representation of how many stores there really is in the one area. This is where the Szuper Store Locator soars above the rest. 

The software is written using PHP and a MySQL database on the server, and HTML and Javascript on the clients side, all built on top of the latest Google Maps API, which makes it all possible. The technologies used are free and open source, so the only licensing or cost involved is a one time fee of $49.95 to buy the Szuper Store Locator itself. After that as many stores as desired can be added to the system, removed or modified. 

The application can be embedded into any website that has PHP and MySQL running on the server, which is basically all servers these days, and installation is relatively simple, consisting of creating a blank database, uploading the files to the web server, choosing a password and inputting your stores locations into the database using the administration interface, which is part of the package. After that the HTML code can be embedded into any web page on the server after obtaining a free Google Maps API key. 

Visit http://php-store-locator.com/demo for more information or to check out the demo.

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MATTHEW SIRPIS
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