By Karen Richardson, Esri Writer
"If customers can't find you, they can't do business with you. It's that simple"®. That's the tenet of Xionetic Technologies, Inc. (Xionetic), a small information systems company based in Bozeman, Montana.
These words of wisdom hit a nerve in the retail industry, where location matters. And now Xionetic touts an expansive client list. One of their innovative software solutions is Locator Web, created using Esri's RouteMAP IMS software. Locator Web is an Internet-hosted solution that maps store or dealer locations and provides driving direction functionality on corporate Web sites.
Xionetic's clients include companies such as Cinnabon, The North Face, Sanrio®, Kohler Co.®, CAT Scale® and Asics®. Xionetic touts this strong portfolio because Locator Web allows each company to have total control over the look and feel of the mapping solution, as well as the data displayed.
Before creating Locator Web, Xionetic could only offer a free link to yahoomaps.com, which didn't allow their customers much freedom to customize the content and display of the map pages. "As we explained to our clients, they would have no control over what popped up on the map," says Sarah Savage, director of Customer Service for Xionetic Technologies. "A client could be looking for directions to a store on the map and a competitor's site may pop up, or an ad for a competitor's product. They didn't have any way to manage what their clients saw on that map."
Esri's RouteMAP IMS allows Xionetic to create powerful advertisement-free mapping for its clients. RouteMAP IMS is an easy-to-deploy, out-of-the-box solution that makes effortless and affordable mapping, routing, and driving directions part of any Web site.
Users pay a one-time licensing fee for the use of the software with the option of annual maintenance instead of paying per transaction. Xionetic appreciates that Esri gives the company's customers the opportunity to publish an unlimited number of maps, routes, and other services without the overhead of per-use fees or viewing third-party advertisements.
"Esri worked with us on pricing this solution," says Savage. "It was very important to us to find a vendor that didn't use a transaction fee schedule. We don't do that with our clients.We wanted to find a solution that allows us to keep our pricing schedule."
Not charging per transaction makes it easier for Xionetic's customers to budget for the year and allows them to take full advantage of the power of mapping. "The last thing we wanted was for our clients to cringe every time a Web visitor clicked on their mapping tool," says Savage.
Web visitors use Locator Web's interactive mapping to find targeted information about a company such what products they can buy at specific locations and when the stores are open. They can also plan routes to visit the store.
"It is very likely a customer will visit a physical location to buy a product or service if they have used a store locator," says Savage. "If they use maps and driving directions, it is even more likely."
Xionetic's clients have full control over the look and feel of the maps its customers view and print. They are able to use custom symbols, such as specific company colors or logos, for their store or franchisee's unique locations. Organizations can also combine their own data such as their store locations and hours, logos, and product availability with the mapping and demographic data included in RouteMAP IMS to generate high-quality maps and routing to locations.
The North American data that Xionetic uses to fuel their clients' Web sites is from TeleAtlas' Dynamap Transportation and is part of the RouteMAP IMS product offering. The TeleAtlas data includes streets in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico. The datasets support street-level routing as well as geocoding by address, postal code, and latitude/longitude. This gives organizations many options for creating location points on a map and increases accuracy.
After finding the locations, Xionetic's customers can create custom maps and find routes or locations from data for the whole of the United States, and Canada. "RouteMAP IMS is a definite selling point," says Savage. "With this software, the client controls what their customers see. There is nothing to distract them from the company's messaging.'
RouteMAP IMS helped Xionetic compete with larger companies in a growing marketplace. Besides allowing Web visitors to find locations and get directions, Locator Web creates statistical reports based on visitor information, such as where the clients themselves are located, what they are looking for and other pages they visit on the Web site. Using this information, Xionetic's clients have new opportunities to cross-sell and up-sell on their Web site, increasing revenue per customer. For example, if a customer is searching for a particular store, special sales at that location may be advertised on the map page.
Great Harvest Bread Company, headquartered in Dillon, Montana, is one of many companies that have found success using Xionetic's Locator Web. With more than 200 franchise locations in 42 states and plans to continue opening new stores, this company wanted to find a way to provide customers information on how to get to their bakeries.
Using Xionetic's Web Locator, Great Harvest Bread Co. provides address and driving directions to new bakery locations, as well as allowing the company to gather other valuable data, such as what locations their customers are looking for and where they are coming from. This information helps the growing company answer important questions about the effectiveness of its advertising and determine if customers are looking for and finding new locations. The data gathered can even assist in investigating whether new locations need to be added to the franchise list. (Listen to a podcast about how Great Harvest Bread Co. uses ArcGIS Business Analyst to select sites for new bakeries.)
Xionetic serves approximately 60,000 maps a day via Locator Web. The system uses separate servers for Web, database, and map serving and is Windows based using a .NET programming environment. Peter Martinson, Xionetic's IT Manager uses Esri's load balancing on up to three separate servers to ensure customers always have access to the services they need. "What I thought was just a nice idea turned out to be a real tested scenario" says Martinson. "I was delighted that Esri had done so much work on this aspect of the software. It makes it that much easier for our company to offer a reliable failsafe service to our customers."
Xionetic's Locator Web not only provides geographic information that is not available from other sources, but also helps its customers answer very important questions about today's marketplace. The software helps, companies use the Internet addresses of Web site visitors to see if new stores should be opened and where. The can determine, which locations are responding to advertising campaigns and where advertising efforts should be increased. Furthermore, companies can easily see what products are being searched for at various locations and plan marketing campaigns and inventories accordingly. Viewing this information on the map also allows the companies to see if they have adequate store coverage for their customer base and if they are cannibalizing sales from other existing stores.
"A locator should be a tremendous asset to your business intelligence information," says Savage. "Thanks to RouteMAP IMS, our company is delivering just that to our customers."