How Home Depot is Upgrading Their Customer Experience Strategy & More...

In this chapter of our keynote series, we were fortunate to be joined by Home Depot's then VP of Online, Marketing, and Merchandising Technology, Igor Cherny.

In conversation with Matt Boyle from Bloomberg, Cherny discusses the various issues and challenges that Home Depot has faced in recent years, and the innovative actions the company has taken to address them.

The Customer

Any business that wishes to prosper in the digital age needs to cater for the modern customer's precise needs and preferences - and Home Depot is no exception. Home Depot has three distinct types of customer - contractor pros, DIY customers, and "Do It For Me" customers (i.e. those who can't or don't want to do DIY). Each type has different requirements, and all must be catered for.

Cherny explains how the "Do It For Me" consumers enjoy a personal service provided by store representatives - while DIYers and professionals, who are often in a hurry, can navigate stores in quick-time using the Home Depot app's map feature.

Home Depot is also making strides in the world of machine learning, which analyzes the online behavior of customers in order to guide them precisely to where they want to be in Home Depot's ecommerce store.

Marrying Online and Offline Channels

A major issue that affects practically all incumbent retailers is how to merge online and offline operations without frustrating the customer experience.

Cherny explains that Home Depot has launched what it calls the "One Depot" initiative to achieve this goal. "For us, it's important to go where the customer is going - to have them shop their way, any way they want," he says. And that means combining mobile, online, and in-store experiences into one.

Home Decor

One big push Home Depot has made over the last year is in home decor. Competing with the likes of Target and Wayfair - both of which feel that home decor is a competitive advantage for them - a new innovative approach was needed, which gave rise to Home Depot's new augmented reality app.

The app allows the user to visualize products in a real-life setting using the lens of their smartphone camera. Customers can view the scene as if these items were real, allowing them to see if items of furniture or decor match their home interiors without having to measure up or take home color samples.


Buy Online Pick Up In Store (BOPIS) is another big winner for the company. Around two-thirds of Home Depot customers use the company's BOPIS service, according to Cherny, and it's proving to be a fantastic in-store revenue driver - 25% of those who come into store to pick up an online order make additional purchases while they're there.

"The biggest mistake retailers make? Staying channel specific. You should always be channel agnostic," says Cherny. "We always think: How does this work both online and in-store? The great thing about Home Depot is that everyone is entrepreneurial, and that shouldn't be taken for granted."

For more insights, join us at eTail Boston, happening this August 19 -22 at the Sheraton Boston! eTail is four days of action-packed stories, conversations, and connections with the top minds at America's most successful retailers. Download the agenda here for full details.

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