January 7, 2011, 1:16 PM

Home Depot will focus on inventory status in its next design tweak

The modifications will launch Tuesday afternoon.

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The Home Depot Inc. will take down its e-commerce site Monday night in order to launch new features that focus on allowing consumers to check whether an item is in stock at a local store, says Hal Lawton, the multichannel retailer’s president of online. Home Depot plans to launch the features by Tuesday afternoon.

When the site relaunches, consumers will be able to click on a button that will tell them how many items of a particular SKU are in stock at their local store, as well as at the five nearest locations. The offering will use automatic localization based on a site visitor’s IP address.

Other changes aim to make it faster for consumers to find what they’re looking for, says Lawton.

In the first quarter the Home Depot, No. 39 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, also plans to incorporate scanning technology into its mobile app. The technology will not offer comparison pricing, but rather will provide detailed product information, including videos, ratings and reviews and a Home Depot-specific description of the item.

“We want to provide a richer experience for customers using their mobile phones in our stores,” he says. “They can already use a generic scanner app, but if they’re in our app we can deliver a more engaging, Home Depot-specific experience.”

The enhancements are only the latest in a series of renovations the retailer has made to its e-commerce site in the past year. Other changes include building in more advanced features such as a personalization tool that uses a consumer’s IP address to customize HomeDepot.com’s home page with the closest store and that location’s featured items.

As a result of the changes, visits to the site are up 20% year over year and conversion rates are up 30%, Lawton says. Both internal and external satisfaction scores also have increased, he says, noting that in ForeSee Results Inc.’s 2010 Top 100 Internet Retailers spring survey Home Depot was one of the most improved sites in terms of customer satisfaction, scoring 77 out of 100 points, compared with 70 out of 100 points in the previous survey.

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