Updated: Jun 18, 2020
For our first Kickstarter campaign, and as of today's date, we have 16 different retailer stores that will plan to sell the Crimes in History: H. H. Holmes' Murder Castle board game. Retailers, for a small company like us, can help provide long-term sales and a source for sales once the game is released and therefore are very important to the development of a long-term distribution network. Throughout Kickstarter and late pledges, retailers have made up about 18% of our total SKU's. Though we were extremely excited with our retailer statistics, our total quantity of retailer SKU's is barely skimming the surface of retailers. We can confidently say that because 1.) we are brand new to the board gaming design and publishing industry and 2.) by comparing the amount of retailers supporting our game compared with the number of worldwide retailers. For games that have much larger Kickstarter campaigns or companies that are more established, we would anticipate the quantity of retailer SKU's to be even higher.
At Blueprint Gaming Concepts, we display a worldwide map to show where the initial Kickstarter and late pledge / pre-orders are headed, both to backers and retailers. Our Locate Our Games & FLGS Partners Locator will display the state or country of our backers and retailer address points and store name where our board games will be selling. Our experience from our initial Kickstarter and interaction with folks on the Game Retailers Who Back Kickstarters Facebook Group is that retailers want 50% or greater margin off MSRP, free demo copy, free shipping, delivery at the same time as backers, a release date, and a retailer locator on the board game publishers website. Today, we are going to talk about the last retailer want and provide a step-by-step on how you can add a retailer locator tool to your website for free.
During the development of our website, we found many GIS mapping tools - some appeared to require a significant amount of GIS expertise and others incurred a monthly charge that we could not justify. So how did we do it for free?! We used Google Maps.
10 Steps to Setup your Locator Map
1. Visit https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/1/
2. Click Create A New Map.
3. After clicking Create A New Map click Untitled map and enter a name for your map and a description.
4. Click on Untitled layer and enter a name for the layer. This layer of data points will incorporate addresses you designate as a part of this layer or addresses you import into this layer.
5. Once you've named your layer of address points, it is time to add your address points. You have 2 options:
Import a CSV, XLSX, KML, or GPX file that has stored data.
Manually add address points
6. Here is a set of Google Instructions (that varies depending on if you are using a computer, Android, or iPhone & iPad) to add places to your map within the designated layer: https://support.google.com/mymaps/answer/3024925?hl=en&ref_topic=3024924
7. Below are a few screenshots to help show how to manually add address points. In this example, I searched Chicago, IL and Google Maps then displayed the location point of Chicago, IL. Click the crossbar to + Add to map and then the address point will be added as a part of the layer. Note: If you are using multiple layers, and the address point was added to the wrong layer, you click on the address point and drag that address point to the correct layer.
8. Once your map has all of your address points, you will want to click the Share button (in between Add layer and Preview). You can change who will have access by clicking Change on the setting default (see screenshot below).
9. Then select On - Public on the web, or any other sharing setting, based on your needs. Click Save.
10. Copy the link and use this link for you to share or embed the link into your website. Towards the bottom of the sharing settings dialog box, you can choose to invite other people in your organization (or outside of your organization) and provide them with editing rights by adding their email in the Invite people section, clicking the pencil, and selecting Can edit. You can also select the checkbox option of Prevent editors from changing access and adding new people.
That's it! Once completed, you can click Preview on your map to test it out and share it with another party to confirm it works before sharing it with your following. We definitely recommend exploring the other features of Google Maps like setting the default of the map view, changing the different base map visualization options, and downloading your own map data.
One really neat feature of published maps that have different layers is that it allows users to toggle on and off layers to visualize the address points that apply to the specific layers and zoom in and out of the map to find the locations closest to them.
In this 1st screenshot, we included the state and country of our backers included in our first run. Retailers are not included in this map, because we toggled off the layer of address points incorporated as retailers.