Live from eTail 2004: Home Depot Evolves its Site

Hollywood, FL–When you’re as huge as The Home Depot, multichannel marketing means more than retail, catalog, and Internet marketing. “We’re trying to blend e-sales with the media side of the business while cementing our retail and direct channels,” Shelley Nandkeolyar, vice president, interactive marketing and e-business for the Atlanta-based hardware giant, said in a session here.

The nation’s second-largest retailer operates three store chains, The Home Depot, HD Supply, and Expo Design Center. It competes not only with the likes of hardware retailers Loew’s, True Value, and Ace Hardware but also competes with Wal-Mart and other marketers whose product lines partly overlap. And as Wal-Mart and Target have developed strong Web sites, The Home Depot, which launched a gift catalog last year, is under pressure to keep up. The key role in revamping its site, Nandkeolyar said, is to continually evolve the home page, “the most expensive real estate” online.

On its site, The Home Depot creates “supercategories” that don’t typically exist on other sites, Nandkeolyar said. “We learned that when you list everything down, if customers don’t know where to go, it enhances their browsing,” he said. Other site features include the company’s new gift registry and a store finder.

Above all else, Nandkeolyar said, The Home Depot has build in a lot of “know-hows,” such as places where customers can find tutorials on products and do-it-yourself clinic—much as they can in The Home Depot stores. The company launched a garden club on the site in early June, which “cemented the customer relationship on a different level,” he said.

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