My Impression of the Experience
As you may have already been able to tell, I was overall satisfied with the purchase of my drill. It was far more efficient online than the in-store experience. For Home Depot, this presents some opportunities to improve. For the online experience, they did provide an email confirming my order, but unlike the Epic Commerce system, I have did not receive a pickup notification that it was ready (maybe because it wasn’t…) and they have not suggested other products within the realm of my shopping preferences that I might like. Also, while they did do a good job of integrating the recommendations based on my purchase and location, they didn’t really take into account social as much as I thought might have been a good step. Going along with this approach, they could have incorporated other popular login methods using social media, as well as providing additional payment options. This leads me to believe that although there are some subtleties to improve, Home Depot understands the impact of omnichannel on the future of retail. They also have a very differentiated product which is rarely, if ever, shipped such as lumber and doors, among a myriad of other products available while you’re grabbing these. This got me thinking further, about the improvements which could be made.
Suggestions and Ideas for Improvement
These suggestions come without a full description of the experience buying through Home Depot mobile app. While I did take the time to download and explore the app, I did not make a purchase through there. Though, they have created a very nice mobile app, complete with in-store navigation available through the app. Now, while this is very impressive, but what about the technologies in the store which could make it easier on staff and people to get what they need. For instance, the mobile app provides a store layout but it does not instantly recognize the customer when they walk through the door. It does not send an alert when you enter the store to say, navigate to that product in the store your in. This is the retail environment we are approaching.
In addition to the above suggestions here are some ideas that at Home Depot scale, can skyrocket per store growth, with a multiplier for online sales.
- Utilize the new customer to provide other customers. A referral program intelligently built in like in Epic Commerce has the possibility to make a free automated customer generation program. Home depot missed the ball on this one.
- Mobile, frictionless checkout. This is something which consumers are not as used to, but that catches on quick. Providing this is a great example of retail technology at work.
- Utilizing logic and AI from more sources of data. It seems like their system was only pulling data from past purchases and location, which are great, but they could have presented other products perhaps based on other factors like social profiles, past search history, and email.
I do believe, and the stock shows it, that Home Depot can be used as a successful case study for omnichannel success. They can certainly bring it to the next level though, and I would challenge that if any retailer feels they are not where this example demonstrates, you should be looking into it now. Retail will not survive at the current status, but there is a new opportunity to connect with retailers in never-before-seen ways. Dare to explore.