What Is Store Locator Plus?
Store Locator Plus is a location management system for WordPress. The plugin provides an extensive location management interface available to administrative users on your site where site administrators manage the physical locations. On the customer-facing side the plugin provides a shortcode, [SLPLUS] that generates a search form, a Google map, and a search results listing. This interface provides the basic “find a store near you” functionality with minimal effort. Add a few locations, put the shortcode on a page, and your site has a location finder.
Why Store Locator Plus?
There are many store finder applications available including several that exist as WordPress plugins. Why choose Store Locator Plus? Here are some of the reasons I think you will be happy with your decision to use my plugin:
The plugin is updated on a regular basis and is tested every time a new release of WordPress is published. Most bugs are fixed within a week or two of being reported. New features are added on a regular basis.
Large Install Base
Along with a large install base comes a large user community. There are currently over 1,500 users registered for the forums and a dozen “power users” that not only help answer questions but are also available for one-on-one consulting for Store Locator Plus installations. At last check there were over 350 active topics and 1,000 posts in the forums.
Extensive Feature Set
Not only does the base plugin come with a solid set of features that will handle any small-to-medium size business, there is an ever-growing list of add-on packs that are adding new features every month. With the introduction of Store Locator Plus the groundwork has been done for even more add-on packs both directly from Charleston Software Associates as well as third party developers.
Tested, Reliable, Proven
Store Locator Plus is now entering the 4th year of production. Along the way the code has been continually refined, modified, and updated to meet general coding and WordPress best practices. The code has been vetted via security experts with past vulnerabilities having been addressed. Store Locator Plus 4 is also now 100% object oriented code, which means very low risk of conflicts with other plugins or WordPress themes.
Free support is always available via the forums with most questions answered personally within a few business days. Paid support is available at several price points to give you the attention you need based on the severity of your problem, ranging from a low-cost 3-day email response to a next-business-day site login options.
There is a lot of documentation about the features and functionality of Store Locator Plus and the add-on packs listed on the website. In addition routine blog posts are added that describe features and provide how-to information. As part of the Store Locator Plus 4 updates I have begun posting videos that run anywhere from 3 minutes to 10 minutes long that describe features or provide how-to tutorials about the base plugin or add-on packs. The documentation will be continually refined, blog posts added, and forum questions answered to give all users the resources needed to find the answers they are looking for.
While there are a lot of features that are part of the base plugin and add-on packs, there is always something more it can do. Many retail clients have found my customization options to be reasonable and affordable. Most projects can be completed in less than a month. All projects are designed to become part of the mainline products, ensuring future support and improvements without creating a custom variant of the plugin.
OPTIONAL Premium Add-Ons, Buy and Own
The optional premium add-on packs are buy-once and own forever. There is no recurring monthly fee required to use the plugin. Support is always free via the online forums and paid support is available to those who need it, when they need it. Why pay a monthly or annual fee for the “privilege” of support when you may not need it.
The ONLY time there are new fees if you CHOOSE to upgrade to a new major release of the plugin, which happens once every year or two, and need to upgrade your premium plugins at that time.
Patches and minor feature additions, released on a regular basis, are considered minor or patch releases and are included free as part of your original purchase.
The base plugin, Store Locator Plus, is always free.
What are some of the notable features of the Store Locator Plus plugin?
Handles Large Data Sets
As long as your server is configured to handle it, so can the plugin. Store Locator Plus uses several intelligent algorithms to help reduce disk I/O. Data sets are indexed on the most common search terms. As an old-school database engine designer I always look to squeeze performance out of any system assuming the potential for high volume transactions always exists. As such the plugin has been able to handle several large client installations. I know of at least a few client installations with over 1,000,000 locations being handled by the plugin. There are dozens of sites with more than 10,000 locations and hundreds of sites with more than 1,000 locations.
The Pro Pack provides even more control over large data sets and includes both a CSV import and export tool.
The plugin comes with its own “mini-theme” system. A set of CSS files can be easily selected via the User Experience View panel to change the basic look and feel of the plugin output. While the default theme works for many installations it does not work with all of the WordPress themes that are available. Some WordPress themes need different CSS layout rules. The theme system makes it easy to find a CSS rule set that works best with your site.
The Pro Pack, Enhanced Map, Enhanced Results, and Enhanced Search add even more control over the look and feel with a custom layout editor that is managed via admin panel inputs. The Pro Pack also adds a global CSS override where you can set custom CSS rules without editing CSS files.
Interactive Search or Directory Mode
The plugin gives you several options for how to display the location finder to the users. You can opt for the “immediate” mode and have the plugin automatically show locations within a default radius of the center of the map or leave the locations list blank until the user enters an address or zip code and clicks the find locations button. You can also opt to limit the number of locations shown or show all locations in your database.
The Pro Pack extends the search mode options by enabling a location sensor that works much like GPS for web based applications.
Enhanced Search adds even more control to the search interface while Enhanced Results manages the initial results layout.
Many of the user interface text labels can be changed to use whatever verbiage you prefer on both the search form and the results that are rendered.
The plugin can handle any location that can be found by the Google Maps geocoding system. If it has an address that can be located, or a latitude and longitude anywhere on earth then it can be added to Store Locator Plus. The plugin currently supports over 40 countries as the default “center of origin” for map searches. The default language set for the Google Maps interface can be set to over 50 languages supported by Google. 98% of the plugin and add-on packs use the text domain standard and can be translated into any language, in fact some users have already sent in Store Locator Plus 4 translations for the admin interface and default user interface strings in return for their free copy of the premium add-on packs.
This is just the tip of the iceburg. There is a lot more information out there about Store Locator Plus, both on this site and on the sites I use to help support and develop the product. Here are some places to learn more about the product.
The “change log” showing what is new in Store Locator Plus.
The starting point for all documentation on CSA products and the ever-growing stack of videos highlighting features and how-to sessions for the plugin. There is also a slide show of various sites, themes, and interface elements.
Do you have a demo site?
There is no official demo site for Store Locator Plus. There is a partial list of customer sites with links to their online locators. There is an ever-increasing library of screen shots and videos on the product documentation pages.
Is Store Locator Plus WPML Compatible?
When installing the premium add-ons do I need to delete and install a new base plugin?
No. All add-on packs are true add-ons. They extend the features of Store Locator Plus in a non-destructive way. This keeps the standard WordPress plugin upgrade system intact. The add-on packs also support the standard WordPress upgrade notification system and will notify you when a new version is available.