Home Depot’s Mobile Grows; CB2 Catalog Shrinks

May 01, 2010 9:30 PM  By

Are you checking out the Big Fat Marketing Blog (www.bigfatmarketingblog.com)? Here’s a recent post from MCM senior writer TIM PARRY that you might have missed.

HOME DEPOT MAKES A MOBILE EFFORT

SOMETHING CAME TO MIND last month as I stood in my local Home Depot. Merchants with mobile sites are discovering that customers are searching for product information while in the store. So with no one to help me find the right submersible pump to replace my old and burnt-out pal, I figured I’d surf for product specs on my smartphone.

The good news is Home Depot did a great job optimizing its Website for m-commerce. The bad news is the optimization was pure aesthetic. While the fonts were clear and simple to read, the product selection on my search for submersible pumps brought me a bunch of items that were not on the rack in front of me.

My first clue should have been when I searched by item number and landed on a “no items found” page. But I figured that maybe the search was product- and price-based and that, of course, I was doing it wrong.

I was able to search for a store, which naturally brought me to the one I was standing in. I could have used that to see if there was a pump in my price range at another store, but that was not an option. And I wasn’t about to go on a wild goose chase for a new pump on the Saturday night before Easter.

But I have to put this into perspective. Last summer at eTail East, Home Depot vice president Michael Cooper was candid in talking about his company’s struggles with multichannel retailing. I actually went to Google’s mobile app to search the product, figuring Home Depot’s site would not be phone-friendly.

So good job by Home Depot on at least giving its customers basic mobile functionality. Its m-commerce is bound to get better.

CB2 SEEMS HALF THE CATALOG IT USED TO BE

A MULTICHANNEL MERCHANT STAFFER received a CB2 catalog from Crate & Barrel last month. Well, she received most of a CB2 catalog, since it appears that a quarter of the book was lopped off along the right edge of the pages. The book looks like a funky hybrid between a standard size and a slim-jim.

It stands out in the mail, sort of, but mostly because the logo and tagline are sliced in half on the front cover. You also can’t read the ink-jet message on the back cover. Inside it’s even worse if you’re really trying to shop — callouts are unreadable, prices are missing in some cases, and customer service policies are cut off.

Not great for inspiring the recipient to order. After paging through the catalog, we were motivated enough to go online to see and read about some of the products that didn’t, uh, make the cut. Would other shoppers do the same?

Any cataloger can experience the odd trim job, but this one hurts — we hope all the books in the batch did not suffer the same fate. Oh well, not much a mailer can do but, as CB2′s “Keep Calm” rug says in this catalog, “Eep alm and arry on.”