photo - home depotBravo to Home Depot for embracing mobile to make my in store shopping experience better. Last weekend, my son and I visited Home Depot to buy a new bike rack for our garage. Our first stop was a sales associate. He pointed us to aisle 21 where racks and hooks are located. We made the trek to the other end of the store and sure enough we found some racks and hooks, but they were not the ones we were looking for. It was tempting to believe  that what we wanted was not available in the store except that I had checked online from my tablet at home, to see if the item I wanted was in stock at this location.  When their website showed 10 in stock – we piled into the car. So, now standing in aisle 21, I went back to my phone  to see if the website could help me. After telling the website that my home store is in East Palo Alto, I was able to lookup the item and find it in aisle 7. Why aisle 7? Because that is where the Rubbermaid products are and the rack we were looking for is made by Rubbermaid.

In-aisle Mobile Sales Associate

Over on aisle 7, we found that part of the rack packaging had the bar code removed. So, again I whip out my phone and snap a picture of the bar code and product info on the sign to use at checkout. At the register the picture saved us minutes as sales associate was able to quickly key in the product SKU. When I handed my phone to the associate and explained the issue, the guy behind me voiced his appreciation for my quick thinking. With bike rack in hand we headed home to do our install with happy feelings about Home Depot and our customer experience.

What did I take away from this experience? Firstly, integrating store data onto a mobile site can really help the customer experience on both platforms. I also noted that I was able to do what I needed via  their website and I didn’t have to  spend extra time committing to an app. Thank you to Home Depot! All I needed was my mobile device and a responsively designed site. Second, this series of use cases demonstrates how people use their mobile devices in the shopping experience. I used my tablet at home to shop from my couch. When I discovered that the item was in stock at my local store,  I made the trip to the store to get it right away. In store, I used my phone as a shopping assistant and it proved to be even better than the sales associate. I was able to see where the item location, use my phone to take a picture of the bar code and share the information at the register. In the future I should just be able to scan the item and pay with my mobile and walk out the door. Maybe next time. Keep up the good work Home Depot.