What retailers can learn from Home Depot’s mobile app

What comes to mind when you think of Home Depot? Perhaps it’s the smell of plywood, pristine model bathrooms, and friendly employees in orange aprons. In more recent years, Home Depot reminds marketers of a seamless mobile to in-store experience. An early innovator among retailers, Home Depot uses a world class app to bring its stellar customer service directly to the mobile-user. It’s a standard that other retailers can emulate.

Focus on the customer experience

When opening the app, the first thing you see is the familiar orange apron that says “I put customers first.” Brands often talk about putting the customer first, but how often does a mobile app really feel like it was designed for customers?

Using an app to push promotion after promotion will only result in users uninstalling. Mobile apps should be easy to navigate, offer enticing promotions, and contain relevant content.

Home Depot delivers all of these promises with an app that incorporates useful tools with the latest in technology. Users can browse for products on the app, or if they’re in store, find additional product information by scanning the product barcode. The app also contains a toolbox with a unit measurement converter and even a DIY measuring hack based off the user’s shoe size.

Customers who want to have an idea of what new faucets would look like on their sink before going to the store to purchase can use the Augmented Reality function. Once the user is ready to make a purchase, the product can be shipped to residence or picked-up in store.

Geo-location is the key to seamless omni-channel

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Home Depot understands how to use geo-location in a way that suits customer’s needs. While friendly associates can help find products and answer questions, the best customers will usually have done their research ahead of time. This is where geo-location shows its power in the application. One of the most useful aspects of the Home Depot app is the “in store” function. For those who need to get in and out of the store quickly, knowing exactly if products are in stock and where items are displayed in aisles makes the shopping experience as painless as possible. For professionals, geo-location helps to make sure items are in stock at the nearest store ahead of time and eliminates waiting around for a store employee.

Leverage mobile to engage existing customers

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Oftentimes, the best customers are the ones using mobile apps. In fact, as Greg Bettinelli, former CMO of Hautelook said last week in our webinar, the mobile app is a loyalty program in and of itself and should be treated as a way to engage and retain existing customers.

Don’t forget all the lessons learned in customer personas and segmentation because the same applies for mobile. In order to leverage your app to engage existing customers, make sure the app is actually useful by building a customer profile of the typical power user.

Home Depot understands their power users very well, and that is reflected in the app experience. For the DIY-er, the app offers AR features, measurement tools, local coupons, and workshop schedules. For the professional, there’s a dedicated app with real-time information about available stock and in-store pickup that makes downloading the app a time-saving essential.

Marketers looking to enhance their mobile offerings should take a closer look at Home Depot’s success. Afterall, Paypal predicts that we’re soon to enter a mobile-first era where mobile spending will eclipse traditional ecommerce. As we’ve been saying at Retention Science, 2015 is the year of mobile and marketers had better be prepared.