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Home Depot’s mobile conversions double year-over-year: Google

Accoring to Google, mobile is increasingly playing a bigger role for the big-box retailer and its group of consumers who are looking for quick, convenient information. Home Depot’s approach to mobile combines in-store and online commerce.

“Location is a hugely important signal for any brick-and-mortar business, particularly when it comes to providing a good mobile experience,” said Brendon Kraham, director of global mobile sales and strategy at Google, Mountain View, CA.

“How close someone is to your store location can indicate a lot about their context and intent when visiting your site or interacting with your ads,” he said.

“For instance, someone near your retail store is likely looking for directions or an easy way to check if their nearest store has an item in stock, so every business should think about what kind of location-aware information will improve the customer experience.”

Mobile home improvement
Google’s “The Home Depot: 360 Mobile Strategy Bridges the Gap Between In-Store and Mobile Experience” case study examines the goals and results that Home Depot has seen with mobile in the past year.

Home Depot initially launched its mobile site in May 2010. This year, the optimized site has been revamped to feature location-based features.

For example, Home Depot’s mobile site asks users if it is OK to use their device’s location the first time that they access the site. From there, the site serves up store-specific inventory and prices.

Additionally, the site lets users buy products from their handsets and pick them up in-store.

According to Google’s case study, visits from mobile devices have tripled for Home Depot from 2011 to 2012 as a result of the site refresh.

Furthermore, mobile commerce sales have quadrupled between the first half of 2012 and the first half of 2011, per Google.

Since the new mobile site has launched, the cost per-macro conversion – or the cost to acquire a mobile sale – has decreased by 75 percent, per the case study.

In addition to sales numbers, Home Depot is also measuring smaller mobile conversions, such as the number of click-to-call or click-to-map leads that are generated.

The improvements to Home Depot’s mobile site made the retailer jump from No. 15 to No. 7 on Keynote’s Mobile Commerce Index. The index measures the speed and response times of mobile pages on retailers’ mobile sites.

Home Depot is using a variety of advertising initiatives to drive users to mobile.

For example, Home Depot has worked with Google on search campaigns that include call and location extensions that let users quickly find information or contact the brand.

App happy
Home Depot has made apps a big priority in 2012. The company’s apps are on iPhone, Android and Windows devices.

Similar to other retailers’ approaches to mobile, the apps are targeted at Home Depot’s loyal fans.

The apps also let Home Depot incorporate more rich media and features.

For instance, Home Depot recently added augmented reality to its apps to let users envision how products would look in a consumer’s home.

Earlier this year, Home Depot also rolled out an iPad app that serves as a design lookbook to let users shop products and spark design creativity (see story). 

“Since mobile users on the go are often task-oriented, surfacing relevant information quickly for someone who’s out and about can be the difference that brings them through your doors and helps them find what they need while they’re inside your store,” Mr. Kraham said.

“As consumers continue to expect better, more relevant mobile experiences, it’ll be the brands that are visible and fully embrace this opportunity that come out ahead,” he said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York