As digital transformation is on the agenda of most companies nowadays, traditional brick-and-mortar retailers struggle with utilizing digital technologies effectively. The Home Depot on the other hand is one traditional company, which managed to harness the power of digital technologies, bring about its own transformation and continues to improve constantly in their quest to fully become a digital master.
The Home Depot is a well-known superstore chain focused on selling home improvement tools and materials that is headquartered in the US. In recent years, the company started its own digital transformation program, with the goal of creating a fully omni-channel business, meshing physical and digital channels. After realizing that their customers spend a significant time online researching their home improvement options, before actually visiting a physical store, Home Depot had to take advantage of the situation and leverage its digital capabilities effectively to make its more traditional assets shine.
By utilizing their e-commerce platform in combination with their brick-and-mortar stores, the company has effectively launched different delivery fulfillment options, like order online-pick up from store, order online-same day delivery or ship to store. Different omni-channel operations are supported by an intricate customer order management platform, the company’s biggest IT project to this day. In addition, Home Depot is further enhancing customer experience with mobile apps, through which customers can complete purchases, search through inventory or just navigate through a physical store and locate a product through the use of maps.
While online sales have steadily increased, Home Depot’s greater advantage is the combination of its physical and online channels to create synergies. Customers, who begin their purchase online and finish the purchase at a physical store, give the company many opportunities to up-sell and cross-sell different products.
Home Depot’s success so far is attributed in my opinion, to their general attitude towards digital technologies and specifically IT and business alignment. There is no divide between online and offline, but one unified business. As Kevin Hofmann President of Home Depot’s Online business, puts it “We deliberately think of it as interconnected and increasingly it’s hard to dissect exactly what is an e-commerce transaction versus physical store transaction . . . We look at the business as a whole portfolio and we think that’s the best way to look at it”.