Home Depot is going to stop opening new stores and shift their growth efforts online. They used to open 200 stores a year. This year they will open one.
What does this mean for building material manufacturers?
1. No more automatic sales increases from adding more stores.
2. An opportunity to outsell your competitors while helping Home Depot to successfully move online.
Time to ramp up your online game.
Don’t wait for Home Depot to tell you what to change. Meet with Home Depot and find out as much as you can about their plans. Ask yourself, as your product moves online what should change? Think about what makes a great online experience to you.
Here are some ideas
Should your product be better packaged to make it easier for Home Depot to handle and ship? Does your package need to change to be able to stand up to shipping when it’s not on a pallet? And what about the customer experience when it arrives and they open the package?
2. A different way of communicating
Consumers make choices about products, brands and upgrades differently online than in-store. You need to make sure you have the right images and copy. You also need to make sure you know how to encourage positive reviews and what to do about negative ones.
3. Installation and return instructions
Should you include installation instructions or direct customers to online instructions or help lines? Be sure to include instructions for how to handle a return the way that Home Depot wants it done.
4. Cross sell opportunities
It has always been hard to cross sell products in store, as big boxes usually won’t let you. You can now include offers for other products that you offer.
5. Sell a wider variety of products
The typical store carries 35,000 items. They carry over 600,000 online. You should now be able to sell your entire product line where there isn’t enough room in a store.
6. Drive traffic to Home Depot’s site
You could get more involved with a blog and social media to draw traffic to you that you can then redirect to their site. You can also analyze your website analytics and work with Home Depot to improve the performance of the website.
You also have to take into account how many contractors will order your product versus DIY consumers and how their needs differ.
These are just a few ideas about how you can benefit from Home Depot’s shift online. Please share any other ideas you have.
There is an article about this in the Wall Street Journal.