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Home Depot exec: Mobile allows access to an endless aisle

During the “Talk to the Hand” opening keynote, the executive discussed Home Depot’s strategy across all platforms, including search, social media, email, SMS and applications. The executive also addressed Home Depot’s mobile-first mentality and how it helps shape the company.

“Mobile can broaden your perspective of what’s available in Home Depot,” said Trish Mueller, senior vice president and chief marketing officer of Home Depot, Atlanta.

“We have a mobile-first mentality – we’re focused on how we start with mobile as we design our marketing program,” she said.

“We’re passionate about the products we sell and mobile fulfills that strategy for us – to bring our products to our customers anytime and anywhere.”

Mobile commerce
When it comes to mobile, Home Depot has implemented a multichannel strategy that encompasses the mobile Web, apps, search, social media, email and advertising.

The retailer also sees mobile as personal, adaptive and valuable.

In 2012, Home Depot saw more than one-third of traffic come from mobile.

The company also saw an even bigger spike during the holidays.

In addition to using traditional marketing channels to reach consumers, Home Depot has also begun testing new technology such as voice recognition and augmented reality.

“By no means can you use augmented reality to envision products across our site, but we’re testing and learning with the patio, where you can place that product in your backyard [using your mobile device] and see what it would look like,” Ms. Mueller said.

“We’re expanding category by category – whenever it makes sense,” she said.

Key technologies
Home Depot is constantly looking at ways to expand the customer experience.

Last year, the company bought RedBeacon, a program that is currently live in more than a hundred of its locations.

Through its mobile app, customers are able to see if they need to hire a professional to help with any of their home needs.

Furthermore, the retailer has also heavily invested in mobile search.

According to Ms. Mueller, the productivity of mobile search has already surpassed PC search for Home Depot.

“I was going over the data and there is more product on dollar spend on mobile than PC,” Ms. Mueller said. “When you think about it, it does make sense.

“About 50 percent of these searches have a local component to them,” she said. “We also stay focused on search in terms of locality.”

Over the past year, Home Depot has strengthened its social efforts.

“Twitter, for us, is the new horizon in terms of interaction and connectivity,” Ms. Mueller said.

Home Depot recently ran a test on the social site and saw mobile engagement outpace desktop by 40 percent.

The company decided not to use Twitter’s hashtag method in its test and instead pushed relevant products to customers based on the conversations it was seeing.

In addition to social media, mobile advertising is a huge opportunity for Home Depot and the company has had great interactivity with its display ads, per Ms. Mueller.

The company has an ongoing partnership with The Weather Channel where it runs targeted and relevant mobile ads to reach consumers in a new and unique way.

“The biggest challenge today for marketers is to make it exciting for consumers,” Ms. Mueller said.

“We’re passionate about customer service and mobile provides such an amazing way to connect with the customers,” she said.

Final Take
Rimma Kats is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York