Store Locator Plus® 5.7 has been released to assist with several features available in the Professional and Enterprise packages of our SaaS product as well as features for the Power and Experience add-on packages for the WordPress plugin.
Location Sensor Refinements
The locations sensor is available for users of the Professional or Enterprise SaaS service. For those using the legacy WordPress plugins the Power add on is required. Keep in mind your site must be an https-based URL which will require you have an SSL certificate.
This patch enhances the consistency of location detection features where some combinations of settings were forcing the location sensor to enable when the feature was turned off.
This setting is found under Store Locator Plus® | General | User Interface.
Setting the center of the map can happen several ways. The default for all maps is to use the value stored under Store Locator Plus® | Settings | Map for Center Map At.
However this can be overridden when using the WordPress plugin by passing along the map_center attribute on the [slplus] shortcode. This will force the map to override the default allowing different results to be shown on different pages such as places closest to Boston MA on the /Boston page of your site with [slplus map_center=’Boston MA’]
Users of the SaaS product to not deploy with shortcodes. This patch does not affect them.
Passing Address In URL
Users of the WordPress plugin can deploy maps on pages that accept an inbound ?address=Boston+MA parameter which will act as if the user typed that address into the search box on the locator. This feature has been refined with SLP 5.2.8 with the Experience 5.2.5 add-on.
For WordPress Users
You should backup your database and all settings before upgrading to the latest release. Update Store Locator Plus first then update the Power and Experience add on to the latest release.
For our SaaS Users
The latest patches have already been tested and installed.
If your site is a non-secure site (HTTP) or does not have a valid SSL ( Secure Sockets Layer)and/or you have not migrated your site to HTTPS ( Hyper Text Transfer Protocol secure), chances are your customer will have a message returned “No results found” even if you have Location Sensor enabled.
Most browsers , and the google map API require sites to be secure to allow the search engine to detect your customers whereabouts. There have been numerous articles written concerning the security changes.
How important is it for people to find a location nearest them? “Near Me” has been a top-ranked search term on Google for the past seven years. This may be the number one reason to use a location sensor. Research indicates that the common phrases of “near me” in Google searches is a top-ranked query. The phrase “handyman near me” might return a cloud based app that in turn redirects the users search to some popular apps but how does your browser, Google Maps or other platform know where you are?
Enter location sensor, a browser-based tool that detects where a user is at the time of search. On GPS-enabled mobile devices it returns the precise location using the device’s built-in GPS sensor. For the Store Locator Plus users the location sensor can be enabled by checking a box under General Settings. WordPress Plugin users will need the Power add on. MySLP service users will need to be subscribed to the Power, Professional, or Enterprise plan.
Using HTTPS Improves Sensor Performance
Google Chrome’s v 50 and higher ( the most popular browser with the largest market share at this time) requires site urls to be served over a secured site before it will allow the location of the user to be transmitted. They have stated that location is sensitive data and determined that HTTPS versus HTTP be required to protect the privacy of your users’ location data. Other popular browsers , such as Mozilla Firefox, may submit a pop-up box asking the user to grant permission for their location to be known.
In short, if your site is using the location sensor feature it must get an SSL certificate and be serving pages on an https address. Many browser disable multiple features if you are not a secure site, including the location sensor. It won’t be long before ALL browsers disable location sensor support if you are not hosting an https site.
Location Sensors Can Increase Sales
If you have a physical location that counts on people walking in the door to make a sale, adding Google Maps and employing the location sensor can have a notable impact on your walk-in traffic. Your first step is to get an SSL certificate on your site so you can serve secure pages; This also helps boost your Google search rank. Once you have that completed put Google Maps software that supports the locations sensor on your site. Add a couple of posts to your site that relate to your business such as “Boutique Near Me” and drop the map code on that post. It won’t happen overnight, but as your site starts to generate traffic the map will lead people to your store.