These are the main reasons that the growth in online sales of DIY products has slowed compared to other retail sectors. It is also why companies like Amazon have failed to make significant inroads into the category.
The Home Depot Difference
Home Depot is an exception to the general rule that online has not been a good place for home improvement. The company’s impressive e-commerce growth means that online sales now make up around 6.4% of its total revenue.
Home Depot‘s success has been attributed to two main factors:
Continuous investment and improvement in the online shopping experience is essential to make it easy and intuitive to shop.
Omnichannel is crucial
Although some people see stores as a problem in an age where retail is increasingly online, Home Depot discovered that its 1,980 locations across the United States are a significant asset in its quest for growth online. These stores have helped it to overcome many of the challenges associated with selling DIY online.
One such issue is the need to deliver products immediately after they are purchased online. The solution for pure-play digital entrepreneurs is to create significant warehouse capacity or use expedited shipping options. However, the cost of these options is usually not passed on to the customer. For many low-value and infrequently used home improvement products, neither option is financially feasible.
Home Depot decided to use its stores as both warehouses for online stock and points of collection for orders online. Although this idea is simple in concept, it was difficult to implement. It required a complete overhaul of all systems to ensure that inventory could be managed across the entire business. This required changes in store management and operations. Staffing adjustments were also necessary. Also, it was necessary to reevaluate stock requirements and give more storage space to online orders.