What Retailers and Merchants (including B2B) need to know: store locators and other services may stop working if no action is taken.

Google Maps may have stopped working for your store(s).

Key eCommerce takeaways of Google Maps’ new structure:

  • Google Maps may no longer work on your sites unless you add an API key and create a billing account
  • Key functionalities like store locator may be affected
  • If you are already paying for Google Maps services, the new model may bring a price increase
Deeper Dive
What is happening?

The picnic is over; Google Maps is no longer free. Well, sort of.

Google has repackaged its “maps” services into a new pay-as-you-go model, consisting of three core products:

  • Maps (Dynamic maps, Street Views and 360° views),
  • Routes (GPS-like directions and real-time traffic) and
  • Places (location names, addresses, reviews etc).

Each has its own pricing structure, documented on the Google Maps Platform pricing table.

 

Main eCommerce functionalities that may use Google Maps
  • Store locator
  • Find a retailer
  • Geolocalization (nearest store)
  • Contact pages
  • Address auto-completion (shipping, billing)
Priority: what to do first:
  • Make sure store locator features work with the new formula. Now you absolutely need an API key.
  • Create a Google account for these services and provide billing details.
  • If you are an Absolunet customer, this is likely to have been addressed already, though feel free to contact your eCommerce Product Owner for more information.
How much would this cost?
  • Variable, as businesses will be charged per API call.
  • More on that later, because:
    • The first priority is to make sure your site/app functionalities work for current customers.
What you WON’T be charged for
  • Users using google maps, in which you appear in the search results.
  • Users using Google Maps to find directions to one of your stores or locations, the using the navigation service to get there.
Alternatives?
  • Technically, yes (OpenStreetMap, for example, is an open source service that resembles a stripped-down version of Google maps.)
  • Realistically, no. Not in the short term.
Technical: what changes are required?

All projects will need valid API keys, keyless access will no longer be supported.
You MUST create a Google Maps billing account with credit card information, without which Google Maps will no longer work on your site(s), including Store Locator functionalities.

About financial impacts:

Billed monthly, every account will get the first $200 of monthly usage for free (for now), which should cover the majority of sites and platforms who simply have a basic map embedded on their site. Though, again, the API key needs to be set up and linked to a billing account.

Venture Beat published a detailed breakdown of what services (and API calls) may cost a merchant, available here.

Consult the Google Maps Platform page for additional information on the new services, packaging, plans and pricing.

Moving forward, an eCommerce Business Plan helps retailers and merchants (including B2B) understand and plan for unforeseen changes, both technical and financial, providing organizations with a high level roadmap for digital transformation and evolution.

To develop a digital commerce roadmap you can take to the board AND to the bank, contact us.

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