June 2, 2010, 2:39 PM

Home Depot gives its e-commerce site a total makeover

Do-it-yourselfers, contractors and others can access more information and easier shopping.

Lead Photo

Home Depot president of online Hal Lawton

Over the last nine months The Home Depot Inc. hasn’t exactly demolished its e-commerce site. But the redesigned HomeDepot.com the chain retailer debuted just prior to the long Memorial Day weekend has been rebuilt with more advanced features that get do-it-yourselfers, contractors and others more quickly to a lot more information and easier shopping.

 “In the last three years we noticed that 17% of all visits to home improvement e-commerce sites were from visitors researching a ‘how-to’ project and now that figure is about 40%,” says Home Depot president of online Hal Lawton. “The new redesign reflects better ways to help customers solve problems, research projects and find what they want quickly and easily.”

 After spending considerable time analyzing customer comments from various sources such as e-mail, service center calls and customer satisfaction surveys from ForeSee Results Inc., Home Depot added several major new design elements and features. The first goal was to redesign the home page and add more elements and content that accommodated HomeDepot.com shoppers with bigger computer monitors and higher resolution. The new home page now features a wider top of the page navigation bar with reorganized drop-down menus for 16 major product categories, a bigger and more prominent site search box that delivers keyword results organized by category, brand, project guides and buyer’s guide, and a “how-to” center.

 The goal of redesigning HomeDepot.com was to marry deeper content with easier navigation and faster shopping, says Lawton. “Visitors aren’t coming to the site just to find the cheapest price,” he says. “They are coming to HomeDepot.com for help with solving a problem and quickly shopping for what they need at very competitive prices. The new design makes it easier to do that.”

On the retooled HomeDepot.com the “how-to” center gives shoppers access to featured products, project videos organized by major merchandising categories, current promotions and project tips from sales associates. A new video player on the home, merchandising and product pages also gives shoppers access to a new inventory of short features that feature quick tips on gardening and home improvement projects.

 Home Depot, which generated e-commerce sales of $500 million in 2009 and is No. 39 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, spent eight months redesigning its e-commerce site. The newly retooled site now lets customers buy and redeem gift cards online and return merchandise bought online to any Home Depot store. In the future, HomeDepot.com also will feature new payment options from PayPal. “The last six to eight months has been spent looking at e-commerce with a more strategic view,” says Lawton. “There was a sense of urgency to deliver a very focused redesign that solved customers’ problems and let them do multiple things at the product level.”

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