Home Depot Inc.’s customers want a robust e-commerce site, both for ordering and for store information, says Dave Abbott, the retailer’s vice president of integrated media.
“Our customers want to do research online before they head to a store,” he says. That’s why Home Depot’s site offers a vast array of local store data, such as stock levels down to the number of SKUs carried in a store. “If you need 10 items of a specific SKU, you want to know a store has that many before you go. It’s no good if we only have two.”
HomeDepot.com, No. 7 in the newly released 2018 Internet Retailer Top 1000, logged 1.8 billion visits in 2017, Abbott says. “A lot of those customers have no intentions of buying online,” he says. “But they want to know, ‘How do I get in and out of a store as quickly and painlessly as possible?’ We get a ton of visits to our website, but 93% of our sales are still in stores.”
Such initiatives aren’t cheap. Home Depot in late 2017 announced plans to spend $5.4 billion specifically to improve its omnichannel operations. And Home Depot in April announced plans to hire more than 1,000 technology professionals to power the $11.1 billion investment it is making in technology through 2020. The retailer has technology hubs in Atlanta, Austin, Dallas, Houston, Portland, Oregon, and San Mateo, California. “We are doubling our investment in omnichannel,” Abbott says.
Late last year, Home Depot bought the retailer The Company Store to beef up its home décor and design business. “It used to be you came to us for the shingles or drywall, and now we want you to come to Home Depot to complete the look as well,” he says.
On Home Depot’s website, each store has its own page. Not all Home Depot stores offer the same products and services, he says, so this is helpful for shoppers. For example, only some stores offer equipment rentals. Home Depot also will ship an online order from one store to another store that is closer to the shopper for pick up, Abbott says. In 2017, Home Depot launched a tool that lets a shopper—often a tradesperson or contractor—view inventory from a specific store near his work site, purchase a product from that store online and have it delivered the same day.
The retailer also will tell shoppers on its site and app precisely where an item in a specific store is located—down to the aisle—in each of its sprawling home improvement superstores.
Home Depot stats and facts:
- Home Depot’s online sales grew 21.0% in the fourth quarter and 21.5% in fiscal 2017—now representing 6.7% of its total sales.
- 46% of U.S. online orders are picked up in a Home Depot store.
- 10% of Home Depot’s online orders originate in the store as consumers and associates interact for a web purchase, and the vast majority of online orders that are returned are returned to stores.
- Home Depot’s e-commerce site surpassed 1.8 billion visits in 2017.
- Home Depot’s online sales have grown by approximately $1 billion in each of the last four years.
- Home Depot has more than 2,000 stores and 400,000 store associates.
Home Depot scored 57 points out of a possible 77 points in Internet Retailer’s evaluation of its omnichannel practices. Internet Retailer’s research team evaluated 24 retailers on 29 omnichannel metrics to come up with a score. Complete evaluations, including score sheets and commentary from field researchers, are available in the report: Omnichannel Winners in U.S. E-commerce. The report is available as part of Internet Retailer’s U.S. Reports Pro Membership and as part of Internet Retailer’s Platinum All-Access Membership. Single copy sales are also available.