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Hammers, Nails and Code: An Interconnected Shopping Experience

February 01, 2016

Often, home projects start from a spark of inspiration.

At a dinner party, you notice perfect French doors. You snap a photo with The Home Depot’s mobile app and use that to quickly cull its online database of more than 1 million items to find the perfect match. At home, you use the app’s augmented reality function to picture the doors leading out to your patio. In the store, The Home Depot’s app uses GPS to guide you to the exact aisle and bay location of the doors and the hardware you’ll need to install them.

Augmented reality mobile app image

Augmented reality on The Home Depot’s mobile app helps shoppers envision a product in their space before purchase.

The Home Depot was built on tangible tools like hammers, nails and saws. But now, the 38-year-old company is building virtual tools that are helping millions of customers with their projects at home, on their smartphones and in stores. On Black Friday, a day when consumers usually invade stores on their feet, the Home Depot served 941,000 mobile web page views in a single hour, a new record for the company.

As Matt Jones, general manager of mobile says: “It’s all about giving the consumer more control.” The Home Depot has engaged technologist from their hometown in Atlanta all the way to Silicon Valley and in between to focus on making the company’s technology experience as seamless as possible for customers. Shoppers have responded, as the company’s web properties approached 1.5 billion visits in 2015, with more than 50% of those coming from mobile and tablet devices.

That growing technological infrastructure creates a holistic shopping experience that blends stores with code and pixels—something the company calls interconnected retail. That means customers can not only shop online or in store but that they can also get help and input from experts at every point along the way. The main mission of The Home Depot has always been to help customers solve problems, and an always-improving technology profile helps solve those problems faster, and more efficiently, while extending the aisle of product options available.

For example—search. Not only can customers search by image, but also text and voice using detailed queries get exact product results. Now a search of “2 inch x 8 inch tile” renders exactly that, saving time from a more manual sorting process. Voice search now accounts for more than 300,000 searches per month.

Voice search on Home Depot mobile app

Voice search on The Home Depot’s mobile app helps shoppers find the exact product they need.

Chat portals give online consumers access to round-the-clock experts. More than 2,000 experts in three separate call centers are trained in particular areas of home improvement. If an online shopper wants to know more about counter-depth refrigerators in stainless steel for example, Home Depot’s website or mobile app can route them to a knowledgeable associate.

At the store, The Home Depot’s mobile app makes a subtle and automatic switch to in-store mode, which helps customers quickly find the right item and its exact aisle and bay among the 35,000 items in the typical Home Depot store. Because no two stores are laid out exactly the same, the mobile app has access to every store’s layout and can tell which store a customer is in. Customers and store associates can also see a store’s exact stock numbers for any item.

Home Depot location demo on mobile app

The Home Depot’s mobile app helps customers find exactly where a product is located within the store.

The Home Depot isn’t done innovating. New technological advances will continue to make it easier for customers to find products and get the project help they need as interconnected retail continues to evolve.