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Home Depot weighs benefits of mobile against pull of stores

During the Redefining Omnichannel: Blending Digital and In-Store session, the executive explained the difficulties in tracking how consumers are traveling across various devices into bricks-and-mortar. It is important to be cognizant of how consumers are interacting with a brand, to best determine what content to serve them and what services to provide. 

"While we do not have a hundred percent connection across channel I can say that we are just under ten percent of understanding how our customers interact across channels," said David Albracht, director of ecommerce product management at The Home Depot. "Ten percent does not sound like a whole lot, but with 1.5 billion visits this year that starts to make a lot of sense."

Pull of bricks-and-mortar

These customers are usually making big changes to their homes, have quite a lot of questions or need the product immediately, and mobile or digital shopping is not conducive to that experience. But it is important to connect with users through these channels regardless, to instill a strong connection. 

Recently the retailer introduced a mobile advertising campaign attracting mobile users getting ready to do home improvements during the spring season, leveraging native ads and deep linking. 

Picking up sales
Home Depot is aware of the heavy pull its stores have on consumers, and is constantly seeking methods in engaging these customers through mobile platforms that enhance this experience. 

However, for Home Depot metrics regarding how mobile has helped these consumers is difficult, due to the significant amount of in-store purchases. 

The retailer?s sales are made up of 96 percent in-store and 4 percent digital. Through research and data, Home Depot believes the digital number will eventually increase to ten percent, but it is unlikely that a substantial portion of its sales will derive from digital due to its inventory. 

"We did an online, off-line attribution study in our lighting category and we compared ourselves to other retailers and focused, in this case, on Amazon," Mr. Albracht said. "Our online conversion rate from a lighting category was about five percent, Amazon's was 20 percent. 

"However, when we looked at our online and offline conversion rate for Home Depot it was 60 percent," he said. "That is the power of our stores, it is just an incredible story that makes us happy. 

"Right now we are 96 percent store side and four percent digital in sales and I would like to think that we can get to ten percent. Our growth in the last few years indicates that. But we will not be a 50, 50 store any time soon."

Final take
Brielle Jaekel is editorial assistant at Mobile Marketer