The Home Depot Inc., which generates about a third of its sales from business customers, is investing in improving online order fulfillment to business as well as retail customers, Scott Spata, vice president of direct fulfillment, said during the B2B Workshop at last week’s Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition 2015 in Chicago.
In recent years, The Home Depot has introduced several new methods of fulfillment for online orders, including: returning a product to a store, pickup at a store and ship to a store, Spata said. This year, he added, the company is rolling out delivering online orders from stores.
That and other efforts, including building new distribution centers designed for both bulk and small individual orders and launching mobile apps for business and retail customers, led to Home Depot’s receiving the top honor in the inaugural Internet Retailer Excellence Awards, which were presented last week at a banquet at IRCE. Home Depot is No. 10 in the 2015 Internet Retailer Top 500, which ranks North American retailers by their online sales.
The merchant—whose business customers are mostly construction contractors that it refers to as “Pros,”—launched last year a distribution center near Atlanta that will primarily handle orders shipped to customers in the southeastern United States. It is the first of three distribution centers—with the other two planned for California and Ohio—slated to open by next year. The three centers together will add a combined total of close to 4 million square feet of warehouse space dedicated to online orders. Each new distribution center will have the capacity to handle up to 100,000 SKUs.
By integrating its online orders with its growing network of distribution centers, Home Depot will save time from order to deliver for its business as well as its retail customers, Spata said. Customers will be able to get “scheduled delivery, when I want it,” he said. He added that a recent internal study found that 54% of Home Depot’s online customers have had items shipped to a store, and that of those, 43% make additional purchases in-store when they arrive to pick up their online orders.
The Internet Retailer of the Year award goes to the Internet Retailer Top 1,000 web merchant that demonstrated extraordinary performance in all aspects of e-commerce activity and on all major e-commerce metrics, according to the judging criteria In 2014 Home Depot’s e-commerce sales increased 37% to $3.76 billion, a growth rate twice that of Amazon’s. Home Depot also added $1 billion in web sales last year, with the web now accounting for 4.5% of the chain’s sales, noted Rob Hoblit, senior director of product management and the product leader for Symantec’s Trust Services Business Unit, who presented the award.
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