The launch of The Home Depot Appliance Experience marks the first self-service, transactional in-store appliance experience for any big box retailer. Before the launch of this technology, customers could not buy an appliance without the assistance of an associate. By implementing this in-store experience, we were able to help The Home Depot bridge the gap from online to in-store sales and increase customer retention by ensuring the experience was comfortable, easy and simple to navigate. As smart phones, tablets and other devices become the spokes of the digital eco-system having a central hub will become increasingly important – tying together the customer and the associate. Owning the customer through the entire path to purchase and making that journey as frictionless as possible will lead to conversion and increased brand loyalty. The Appliance Finder experience is the hub of the digital channel for the stores. Turning a user journey into a user reality.
We were tasked with creating an in-store digital experience and fixture design for The Home Depot appliance section that will enhance the shopping experience and ultimately drive increased sales. This digital touch point would serve both our customers and our associates by selling appliances on the floor and extending the aisle for appliances not in the store.
Our strategy was to produce a best in class digital eco system that leverages multiple channels to create the ultimate in customer relationship management enabling a truly connected retail experience – for customers and associates.
We created an in store digital platform that seamlessly connects The Home Depot Associate to digital experiences for each unique product category throughout the physical Home Depot stores and virtual store fronts – at scale - for the fourth largest retailer in the world with over 2,000 stores and 75+ Billion in sales annually. Our first category opportunity was for major appliances – we created the Appliance Finder Experience.
We approached these issues, first, with internal alignment and second, with an anchor in our strategy. We took a step back and collaborated with The Home Depot to define what best in class meant, our strategy, vision and guiding principles. Guiding principles like the fact that the experience needed to behave like a consumer tablet so customers could quickly understand how to use. Numerous times throughout the project, there were opportunities to lose focus, but because we had established such a firm client/agency foundation in our strategy and vision, we were able to minimize distractions and maximize our time building a first-of-its-kind, interconnected, retail engagement.
We needed to become appliance experts and immersed ourselves in every aspect of The Home Depot. Meeting with key stakeholders, conducting associate and customer interviews, and endless hours of researching how people shop for appliances. The results of the customer and associate research were extremely similar. Both segments needed a tool to make the buying process of appliances easier.
Set with a tight deadline we understood the importance of few design iterations while ensuring the experience would work with home depot's extensive backend system and third party integrations. To do this we created rapid prototypes on the devise itself. Because all implementation was done in this real world trial and error period challenges were revealed that weren't discussed in our initial pass at the creative. Additionally, this enabled us to again think from the customer and associate's perspective to ensure the experience was optimized for consumption. This process allowed us to work on wires, design and development in tandem to maximize the experience and test/refine the experience.
In addition, we completed all industrial design for the structure, embracing the challenge that the kiosk had to not only attract people but also be built for the warehouse setting. The team worked with a local manufacturer to make the fixture retail ready and cost effective to produce. The result was a fixture that was built for a warehouse, easily serviceable, and ADA compliant.
Overall the Home Depot Appliance Experience gives the customer the autonomy of browsing all the appliances not on the floor while having the support of a Home Depot associate as their guide. We have created an interconnected retail experience that behaves like popular consumer electronics. It is a first of its kind kiosk that bridges the gap between online and brick and mortar purchases
Our work has gone in front of customers, associates, executives and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive; as noted by the response from a Director, Merchandising Strategy, "We are setting the standards for customer focused digital in-store experiences." To date we captured over 10% lift in sales for stores in the Appliance Finder program. Because of these amazing results, there has been rapid adoption by The Home Depot Associates and we expect Appliance Finders to roll out in every metropolitan market in North America. Even more importantly this represents a mind shift for our client as they see us as a partner in thought leadership in the field of transactional interconnected retail. We're looking forward to more great work with The Home Depot.