Home Depot Deploys New Customer Order Management

For the first quarter Home Depot's dotcom business had sales growth of nearly 40%, reaping the benefits of more than three million visits per day and a conversion rate that continues to increase. To better support its growth, both in-store and online, the retailer will invest in a new customer order management system (COMS), designed for greater visibility and execution of special orders, as well as a frictionless experience for customers.  
"We continue to invest in our stores from both our customers and our associates, and we are pleased that we are live in our first store with the new COMS," said Craig Menear, Home Depot president of U.S. retail. "We are planning for the system to be rolled out all U.S. stores by the end of the year."
While the retailer recently piloted the COMS in its first store, it has begun the rollout in an attempt to provide greater visibility to the consumer and store associates throughout the special orders process. "When they actually place an order they are able to understand the status of that order and where it is in the process of manufacturing," noted Marvin Ellison, EVP of U.S. Stores for Home Depot.
Through the new systems, associates will gain visibility in the store, allowing them to better answer questions and inform customers during that process. It's a coordinating effort that drives back into the retailer's manufacturers and suppliers to be able to coordinate all the way through the supply chain.
"Each store is like a brand and these customer orders are essential to the store," said Carol Tome, CFO and EVP of corporate services for Home Depot. "If you shopped in a store in Manhattan and then were visiting a store in Chicago, the associate couldn’t see your order in Chicago. But now with common order management the associate and customer will be able to see the order wherever they shopped."
The dotcom business has grown faster than the retailer planned. Nearing the anniversary of its launch of Buy Online Ship to Store, the retailer expected growth rates to slow down. However, for the first quarter, the retailer's sales grew $232 million – almost a $100 million of which came from BOSS-related sales.
Appliance kiosks and larger screens have been placed in stores as a selling tool for associates, and for the customers to be able to do comparisons on products. Thus far, the experience has been that there are now lots of engagement with the customer by themselves, acting as more of an assisted sale.
On interconnected retail and the online business, the goal is to improve trafficking conversion in stores and vice versa. One of the major efforts Home Depot have undertaken over the last few years has been to create a technology platform that will support a seamless customer experience, whether shopping online or in-store. The dotcom business is now over $2.7 billion, growing more than 50% last year, and 40% in the first quarter.

"We are very pleased with the progress we are making," said chairman and CEO Frank Blake. "We have more to do though and this remains one of our major areas for investment in 2014 and beyond. Our ongoing objective is to keep improving the ease of use personalization and connectedness of our online experience."