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17Oct, 2017

B2B e-commerce – How Home Depot is leading the game

Author Matt Category

Omni channel has been a long trending topic in the world of B2B ecommerce owing to the change in shopping experience. Going by the current B2B scenario, there is no one who has perfected the art of omni-channel retailing better than ‘Home Depot’.

While most of the B2B companies are trying to appeal to modern consumers via innovation, their online or in person sales remain separate. This is where ‘Home Depot’ has scored above the rest by perfecting the art of integrating both these platforms and posting steady growth. To top that, they have not added a single additional store to achieve this phenomenal growth.

The online sales accounted for 5.9% of the total sales of $94.60 billion for the year 2016. ‘Home Depot’, which is the largest home improvement retailer, capitalized from the rebound in housing prices by improving their omni-channel strategy at the right time.

Redefining B2B e-commerce Omni channel supply chain fulfillment

Home Depot is undoubtedly the fastest growing B2B networks and the online sales is being facilitated mostly by their Brick and Mortar stores. Due to this mixture of online and physical store presence ‘Home Depot’ currently offers innovative options such as BOPIS (Buy online pick up in store), BORIS (Buy online return in store) and BODFS (Buy online deliver from store).

Allowing shoppers these kinds of options enables the retailers to fulfill orders within a very short time window enhancing customer experience and mirroring the Amazon B2C effect.

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Home Depot strategy to attain Omni channel perfection

The most common strategy of most the businesses is investment in opening of new physical stores in new locations. This is a guaranteed method of seeing sudden surge in sales and is worth if it targets a new customer group previously inaccessible to the product range.

But there is a drawback, this kind of surge is short term and can end up costing the companies in the long run. This mistake was done by seasoned businesses like Macy, Walmart and Sports Authority.

Home Depot managed to avoid this by investing money into doubling their existing stores into fulfillment centers to manage orders through their online sales channels. This helped in boosting their omni-channel strategy.

Further taking a cue from Amazon, ‘Home Depot’ invested in 3 Direct Fulfillment Centers (DFC) in the states of California, Georgia and Ohio. According to a report by Market Realist, 90% of the US population can be covered under its proposed 2-day parcel shipping.

Apart from investing in direct fulfillment centers Home Depot is investing in digital enhancements such as voice and image recognition, integrating store maps to make product search easier for their customers. Training their in store resources to provide answers to their queries irrespective of the medium i.e., stores, chat, phone, etc.

More emphasis is being laid on mobile commerce, integrating social reviews and providing quality product searches, which clearly shows Home Depot is putting the money where the future lies omni-channel retailing.

Home Depot’s growth is a perfect case study for achieving exemplary growth through Omni channel strategy. Rather than focusing solely on developing e-commerce or investing in Physical stores Home Depot focused on restructuring the whole supply chain network of in store and online experience.

Scott Spata, Vice President of Supply chain direct fulfillment at Home Depot quoted “In fact, we prefer to take the ‘e’ out of e-commerce and just call it commerce.”  “A high number of in-store transactions start online, where we can drive customers to the store armed with all the information they could need. Alternatively, they might want to see and touch a product in a showroom before ordering a specific size or color online. However the customer wants to transact, we’ll make it happen on the back end.”

Pre requisites to achieve Home Depot level of Omni channel finesse

  1. Retailers should be able to provide a level of knowledge about products or services that meets or exceeds the information available to shoppers across a company’s digital and physical channels. To read more, click on the link
  1. People always perceive omni-channel and Multi-channel to be the same, in reality they are not. Understanding the difference between both these strategies is important to gain omni-channel finesse. To know more, click on the link. 
  1. Most of the buyers are no longer loyal to a particular brand or sales channel, today’s primary criteria lies in providing convenience from the context of the buyer. One such option of providing buyer convenience is offering ‘Buy online Pickup in store’ option, which is a step in the direction of achieving the perfect omni-channel strategy. To know about the ways to achieve BOIPS success click on the link. 
  1. E-commerce merchants should understand some critical hurdles, which they need to overcome before going into a full-fledged BOPIS integration. To have a detailed understanding of the hurdles which could throw a spanner into the BOPIS implementation, click on the link. 
  1. Bonus Read: A perfect Omni channel strategy cannot be implemented without delivering a consistent customer experience across all channels. To know which strategy to pick for an Omni omni-channel implementation from the experts click on the link. 

About i95Dev

i95Dev has vast expertise of giving wing to various e-commerce merchants across various domains both B2B and B2C and spanning different continents. We have helped them put in place the perfect frictionless Omni channel strategy, hence we understand the importance and how to deliver the solution.

If you are an e-commerce merchant looking to implement an omni-channel strategy, then drop us a line at contact@i95dev.com.

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B2B e-commerce – How Home Depot is leading the game