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Home Depot puts location in the forefront to drive in-store traffic, mobile sales

The company is running its new mobile advertising campaign within The Weather Channel’s iPhone application. Home Depot has used mobile advertising in the past to bolster brand awareness and engagement.

“By adding store location functionality to the ad unit, the brand expertly displays their understanding and appreciation of the unique contextual requirements of an audience made up of a sizable percentage of likely moving targets,” said Scott Forshay, mobile and emerging technologies strategist at Acquity Group.

“In the infancy stages of mobile advertising, the most detrimental experience design flaw is an ignorance of or, worse yet, blatant disregard for the needs of the on-the-go consumer,” he said. “Mobile ads have mostly taken the scaled down form of traditional big browser digital display units, offering nothing in the way of contextual relevance or functional utility to consumers.

“This path of least resistance approach has alienated the mobile consumer – intruding on limited screen real estate with very little, if any, impression value in exchange. The brand obviously understands the needs of its DIY audience and provides contextually relevant functionality with user experience at the forefront of consideration. While the ad should definitely help achieve its intended result of driving store traffic, they have shown that a focus on experience design within a mobile ad construct is of paramount importance.”

Mr. Forshay is not affiliated with Home Depot. He commented based on his expertise on the subject.

Home Depot did not respond to press inquiries.

Mobilized location
The Home Depot mobile banner ad reads “Lay Down Some Style That’ll Last. Shop Now.”

When consumers tap on the ad, they are asked if it is OK to use their current location.

From there, users are taken to Home Depot’s mobile site where they can shop the latest products or use the search functionality on the top of the screen to browse for a specific product.

Additionally, customers are asked to provide feedback on their experience by offering Home Depot their email or phone number.

By doing so, the company is able to further communicate with consumers and continue their dialogue, even when the mobile advertising experience has passed.

“If utilized properly, mobile advertising can be an excellent just in time medium for consumer engagement,” Mr. Forshay said. “Success requires first an understanding of the audience and where they spend their time on device.

“Time spent engaging with apps has surpassed time spent on the mobile web, so placing ads on popular apps that appeal to their audience is an important first step in planning,” he said. “Secondly, the ad has to grab the audience’s attention within the tight real estate and convey a compelling call to action.

“Lastly, the ad should offer value added functionality unique to the device, like location recognition or click to call functions, to deliver on a well-executed strategy.”

Past efforts
Home Depot has been incorporating mobile into its strategy over the past few years.

Earlier this year, Home Depot decided on an iPad-first strategy because of the device’s ability to provide engaging content and product experiences that can help drive sales (see story).

Most recently, the company proved that mobile advertising plays a critical role in its mobile commerce strategy with a campaign that aims to bolster sales for its power tools and home appliances (see story).

“Appropriate location-aware messaging can definitely help drive in-store traffic and lead to additional engagement and transactions,” said Tom Nawara, vice president of emerging solutions and innovation at Acquity Group. “However, the placement of those mobile ads—as with any other ad—is key.

“If planned and implemented correctly, mobile advertising is a terrific medium for marketers,” he said. “Consumers will lose trust in a brand quickly if that brand abuses the mobile relationship, so marketers must think of mobile advertising as part of an integrated program and not just one-off tactics without grounding.

“We’re seeing more and more clients evolve from basic mobile tactics to more holistic mobile—and even omnichannel—programs, ensuring that brand messaging and customer engagement is as consistent and relevant as possible across channels and customer touchpoints. Mobile marketing is a key piece in that omnichannel mix, and we see marketers getting smarter in their use of it in 2013.”

Final Take