Online has become a major focus for brick and mortar home improvement retailers Home Depot (NYSE:HD) and Lowe’s (NYSE:LOW). Customers are increasingly spending significant time online learning about and researching home improvement products before making their buying decisions. Realizing this trend, both the home improvement retail giants have made significant investments in their online strategies.
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Lowe’s launched its improved online sales platform ‘MyLowe’s in September 2011 in conjunction with a new marketing campaign, ‘Never Stop Improving’. MyLowe’s provides Lowe’s improved customer engagement with personalized and customized offerings. Through the website customers can manage their home improvement projects from conception and planning to execution via extensive interactive content and state-of-the-art technology. Customers can also view and manage room-by-room profiles of their homes and experiment with different styles virtually.
Lowe’s expects the new web platform to increase the percentage of spending customers make online. MyLowe’s has achieved significant traction since its launch last year with the number of subscribers now exceeding 5.5 million, up from 3 million in February 2011. At this rate, subscriber growth could reach 10 million by the end of 2012.
Home Depot’s Online Initiative
Realizing the recent trend of customers spending significant time doing pre-purchase research online, Home Depot has started improving its online portal and is developing a direct-fulfillment distribution center in Georgia to open in 2014. The company has embarked on a $1.1 billion program to help reach its target of 4-7% of total sales made through the online channel from the current <1%. A few of its initiatives are its “Buy Online Pickup In-Store” service and its store inventory-check feature. The company also recently acquired Redbeacon, an online platform enabling customers to connect with contractors for their home maintenance, repair and remodeling needs.