Reviewed on 11 July 2020
Mapply.net was created in 2014 as a spinoff, standalone store locator service by the team behind Bold Apps. The Bold Store Locator was a Shopify only product so Mapply was created to allow their locator service to be used on other website and eCommerce platforms.
First impressions are positive with a generous (in fact, a market leading) 30 day trial which doesn't force you to add your credit card details as many other services are now requiring before they will let you try out their service. The first thing you're reminded to do via a modal window is to enter your Google Maps API key. You can exit out of this modal without entering your key but it's a slightly odd first introductory view.
Once you close this window, there's then a full page of help text instead of the more typical stepped walkthrough that marks your progress automatically:
Once the help document is closed, the console itself is refreshingly simple and has a well organized and logical menu system - it's immediately obvious what everything does and where to find it.
Mapply only allows you to use Google Maps as your mapping service and you'll need to sign up for your own API key and enter it into the Mapply console before you start using your locator on your own website - Mapply won't provide you with an API key to use. One minor frustration I have to mention; once you've entered your API key it's virtually impossible to change it - unless you happen to remember the URL - as it's not linked anywhere that I could find (if you've come here seeking the answer to this question, here you go: https://app.mapply.net/map_api_key.php).
Unfortunately Mapply doesn't offer any ability to offer multiple languages of your widget for different audiences or pages on your website. You can fully customize all the text strings but character set support is limited; French works for example, but Greek and Chinese characters are not accepted so it appears that only languages that can be represented by the Latin character set are supported. The one concession to the existence of the rest of the world is that you can change the language in which Directions are shown.
Mapply has search filters which are used to narrow down searches and which show up as checkboxes in the store locator. your store locator page and if a customer checks one the map will only display locations that meet that criteria
The Reports section presents two menu options - Heat Map and Map Usage. Heat Map is a plot of the locations that have been searched in your locator mapped out as marker clusters. It's not a heat map per se but it will show you where your customers are searching the most. It's all rather threadbare and arguably does less than the bare minimum - you can't change the date range for the heat map, you can't export any data and the map usage page is almost useless.
There's only one data import format supported which is the venerable CSV. I double checked with XLSX files but they were rejected by the upload process so you'll have to put up with the limited formatting that CSV offers. In addition, there's a limit of 1,000 locations a day that can be imported which is really an unacceptable limit these days with the plethora of low cost geolocation service providers out there. In my opinion they really need to rethink this policy - if I want to go onto the $39.99 plan and I have 3,000 stores, do I really have to stagger my uploads over 3 days to get them imported? There's an Unlimited plan which becomes completely untenable if you want to upload tens of thousands of stores (or more!).
A slight oddity to report - the template contains header rows for 'Wi-Fi, Wheelchair Access and Members Club' yet none of these are default fields in your locator when you create an account. And conversely, the Website and Hours of Operations fields which ARE default fields don't appear in the template. It's not a big thing but it's confusing and indicates a product which hasn't been shown a lot of love recently.
Finally, I tested an import of 1,000 locations. This part is horrible; firstly the instructions say "We are processing your store locations - DO NOT LEAVE UNTIL COMPLETE". I assume his means don't close the browser window otherwise your import will fail. Secondly, each location is individually located on the map and takes a few seconds to complete. I'm sure this works great visually when you have 10 locations but for 1,000 locations this is not fit for purpose. And they're not kidding about not leaving; I went to get a coffee and because my display went off, I was logged out and the import stopped where I had left it and had to start again.
The layout of the Mapply locator is fixed to the most common layout with a list of stores on the left and the map on the right. There's limited styling options available as shown below so if you need more than this you'll need to dig into CSS to make the changes that way.
You can adjust which fields are visible in the store list and in the map popup window independently. Frustratingly, there doesn't seem to be a way to add the custom fields that you've added to your locator which them rather pointless:
Finally, here's how the locator looks with its default layout and style:
There's no onsite chat but you can click through to the support pages on the Bold Apps website where chat is available during US working hours.
No API is offered for integration with Mapply.
Store Groups allow you to set a different map pin color for different types of stores and also to prioritize them in the listings. For example, set Premium stores to always be listed first (subject to the Filtering and search distance criteria). You can also set these store groups to expire after a set period of days so you can sell premium listings that expire after 10 days for example.
There's a lot to like about Mapply's pricing which I think should be something other store locators should embrace. All features are available on all plans with the only plan segregation being based on the number of locations that you have. The $4.99 monthly price point is the lowest of any store locator that we've reviewed to date and is perfect if you have less than 10 locations to display.
The experience of using Mapply really evokes the feeling that the Bold Apps team created this store locator software back in 2014 and then they walked away from it assuming the job was done. The bulk import system is simply not fit for purpose if you are going to be uploading hundreds, let alone thousands of locations. The limited internationalization support, the reporting is extremely limited and the locator itself doesn't support basic features that you would expect from any modern store locator service such as automatic HTML5 browser geolocation and address autocompletion.
If you have 1-10 stores and if you don't mind the lack of the basic locator features I've listed above, then the $4.99 a month plan is the lowest price we've seen anywhere that allows you to add a store locator to your website so if your business fits into that bracket you might have a winner here. Otherwise, I can't see any reason why you would choose to go with Mapply instead of another more modern, capable store locator service.