January 24, 2006, 12:00 AM

Home Depot Direct plans to double sales annually over 5 years, CEO says

An aggressive plan to capitalize on broadband Internet access with rich media seeks to double online sales each year for the next 5 years at Home Depot Direct, keynoter tells Shop.org.

An aggressive plan to capitalize on broadband Internet access with rich media-including 3D product demonstrations and real time online access to home improvement experts-is designed to double online sales each year for the next 5 years, Home Depot CEO Harvey Seegers said in today’s keynote address at the Shop.org FirstLook conference.

Seegers showed on an overhead screen a 3D demo, using technology from Kaon Interactive, that lets an online shopper use her computer mouse to remove shelves and water filters from a refrigerator then re-insert them to see how they fit. Another feature will let consumers type a natural language question into HomeDepot.com for help with a home improvement project. After the question is automatically routed to the most appropriate Home Depot expert using language recognition technology, the customer can receive a written answer within minutes. “We want to provide new experiences for customers coming to Home Depot for products and innovative solutions,” Seegers said.

Seegers said Home Depot also is experimenting with offering the customer assistance tools on kiosks located within stores and at public places such as airports. In addition, Home Depot Direct is planning to offer a remote home control service through which consumers would log onto HomeDepot.com to do such things as turn lights on and off or raise and lower home thermostats.

Seegers said Home Depot has yet to decide whether it will charge for these services on a transaction basis or through a subscription model.

Home Depot’s Brett Lauter, director of emerging brands, will be a speaker at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition June 5-7 in Chicago, in a session entitled “Micro-Segmentation: Going Where Stores and Catalogs Can’t Go.”

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