November 15, 2007, 12:00 AM

Home Depot seeks to engage customers with two online holiday contests

Home Depot offers $25,000 for the best YouTube video on a needed home improvement project, and $2,500 for the best photos of holiday decorations. HomeDepot.com has been getting more interactive, and plans to make video more prominent next year.

Increasing interaction with its customers has been a big focus in the past year at the online arm of The Home Depot Inc. The home improvement giant is continuing that push this holiday season with two online contests, and its plans for 2008 call for greater use of video on its site to further engage visitors.

“We recognize there’s a tremendous opportunity to build customer loyalty by creating online experiences that are more fun, more engaging and more interactive than before,” says Greg Foglesong, general manager of Home Depot Direct. The holiday contests, he says, are ways to encourage customers to interact with Home Depot and with each other.

One contest offers a $25,000 grand prize for the best YouTube video showcasing projects customers would like to tackle at their homes. Those videos can be viewed at homedepot.com/YouTube.

The second contest, called Light Up The Neighborhood, allows visitors to upload photos of holiday decorations and chat with others about the pictures. The photo that gets the most votes online during the week of Dec. 14-21 will win the entrant a $2,500 gift card.

Home Depot, No. 37 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, has learned from research in the past year that customers want more information about do-it-yourself projects, and the home improvement giant has been increasingly using videos on its site to provide product demonstrations and how-to guides. “It’s one thing when you can show images, but it’s even better when you can show a video,” Foglesong says.

The videos are grouped at the Know-How section of HomeDepot.com under a section called More Ways to Learn, and Foglesong concedes they are more segregated from the rest of the site than he would like. The plan for 2008, he says, is to highlight the videos on the home page and make them more part of the customer experience on the site.

 

 

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