Home Depot Provides Update On Luring Pro Customers

Home Depot Provides Update On Luring Pro Customers

Despite a difficult third quarter earnings report that resulted in the Home Depot lowering its outlook for the year, Home Depot remains pleased with its effort to attract more pro customers to its stores. In fact, during DIY chain’s earnings conference call, Home Depot says it is extremely pleased with the number of pro customers using its e-commerce platform.

While Home Depot’s Chairman, President, and CEO Craig Menear would not give specific details, he said during the conference call that the company has invested a significant amount of money in its B2B e-commerce site. A major portion of that money and effort is being used to take apart Home Depot’s old B2B website and build a new one, as it works to built its online customer base. “Much of the IT work requires unwinding our legacy systems,” Menear announced. “And that has proven to be more complex than originally anticipated. Our investments in a personalized B2B website experience is a significant component of the unique value proposition we’re creating for our pros. And we’re seeing meaningful life in spend as these customers become more familiar with the new experience.”

“The rollout of the B2B site experience itself is on track, but underlying IT work must be completed before turning on additional elements of personalization and functionality for our larger Pro customers,” Menear continued. “As with any transformation, the work we’re doing is complex and I’m proud of the way our team has consistently up for the channel.”

While most of the question and answer session during the conference call focused on Home Depot’s investments in future projects and potential to grow the DIY market share, there were a few questions about the pro customers. At the beginning of Home Depot’s fiscal year, it registered 130,000 pro customers on its B2B website, with a goal of reaching one million by the end of the year. Bill Lennie, Executive Vice-President of Outside Sales and Service, says that number is currently 780,000 pro customers, with one million still in reach. Lennie says pro customers receive added benefits for being a part of the e-commerce experience. “We now except the pro purchase card with our legacy Interline customers so they can buy on HomeDepot.com,” Lennie said. “We’ve done things like introduced Buy It Again functionality. And we’ve made new user registration automatic. So as we have new customers signing up onto our Pro extra platform, we can get those customers at the time of sign-up and we can automatically migrate them to the B2B website. So we’re on track with the customer migration and on-track with all the capabilities.”

Despite the difficult earnings report, Home Depot is happy with its pro customer progress, saying the segment remains strong, and pros are spending more each time they make a purchase. “We did see the pro strengthen some in this quarter,” Richard McPhail, Senior Vice-President of Finance Control and Administration announced. “Unit comps are very encouraging, but the growth in pro was primarily through transactions versus ticket. So just good broad base strength on the business.”

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