30/11/2017 - Home Depot’s shares are at an all-time high as the home improvement retailer has been buoyed by a continuing strong housing market and its investments in digital operations and elsewhere. Heck, even national disasters have worked to Home Depot’s advantage.
The chain recently reported a gain of 7.9 percent in third quarter same-store sales, well above the 5.9 percent expected by analysts, as hurricane-related sales added $282 million to the retailer’s top line.
Home Depot, as a Seeking Alpha article points out in detail, has made a significant effort in recent years to create a seamless shopping experience with investments in contact centers, content, customer experience, digital marketing, direct fulfillment centers, mobile, search, etc. Online sales have grown from 2.4 percent of Home Depot’s total in 2012 to 6.2 percent in the third quarter of this year.
The chain’s buy online options include delivery from stores, pick up in-store, ship to store and return to store. Nearly 45 percent of orders placed on homedepot.com are picked up in-store and roughly 85 percent of returns are made to the chain’s physical locations, as well. This means that Home Depot has been able to eliminate much of the added shipping cost that goes with e-commerce operations.
Prat Vemana, vice president online at Home Depot, told CNBC that the retailer redesigned its mobile app last year and is looking to add more augmented reality (AR) functions in the next generational upgrade.
“I think the (AR) experiences are much better these days,” Mr. Vemana said. “There are much more exciting apps to use, and they’re getting to the right devices.”
Home Depot’s success online can be attributed in large part to ongoing efforts to improve the customer experience. In his interview with CNBC, Mr. Vermana spoke about adding more personalization to Home Depot’s mobile app as one way the chain has become more responsive to customers.
The Seeking Alpha article pointed to the retailer’s introduction of “dynamic ETA,” which provides customers with better information on deliveries as another way Home Depot is improving interactions with customers.
by George Anderson