CXO

Home Depot invested $1.8B in tech, and it's starting to pay off

On a recent earnings call, Home Depot detailed some of its major tech and online investments that have driven business growth.

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Image: Home Depot

Home improvement retailer Home Depot recently announced record sales and earnings for the second quarter, driven in part by a massive technology investment. The news came Tuesday, as part of the company's earnings conference call, where it detailed its specific tech efforts.

Overall, Home Depot's sales were up 6.6%—reaching $26.5 billion in the second quarter. Of its $5 billion investment plan, store reinvestment was pegged at $2 billion, while technology and online investment came in a close second at $1.8 billion. There were also investments in new stores, international expansion, supply chain, and integration.

A host of new features came out of the technology investment. Online shoppers will have access to Dynamic ETA, which gives better delivery data based on location. Another logistics investment was a project called Sync, that seeks to better coordinate the company's distribution centers.

Additionally, a new customer order management system called COM has made it into all US stores, and the company is hoping to better sales and inventory management with its algorithms. COM will also be a part of another new effort that will allow a customer to order an item online to be delivered from a local store, shortening the delivery time. It is now available in roughly 700 stores.

SEE: Home Depot's tech bets paying off as retailers struggle vs. Amazon (ZDNet)

Of course, the company invested heavily in its web presence as well. Ted Decker, Home Depot's executive vice president of merchandising, noted that online traffic is up, driven by mobile.

"Our online business had strong growth in the quarter with double-digit traffic growth and improvement in conversion. Our interconnected retail initiatives continued to evolve to meet the changing demands of our customers. Mobile and tablet are over 50 percent of our traffic and are important tools that our customers use to engage with our products, our stores and our associates," Decker said.

The company improved product images and customer support chat, and made online checkout easier. A large number of the online orders are now fulfilled through Home Depot stores.

Still, it may be a little more than tech that led to Home Depot's record quarter. As CBS News pointed out, a jump in the housing market could have also led to more sales at Home Depot and rival Lowes.

For a more in-depth look at Home Depot's investments, check out Larry Dignan's analysis on our sister site ZDNet.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. Home Depot reported record sales in its second quarter earnings call on Tuesday, driven in part by new tech initiatives.
  2. The company invested $1.8 billion in a revamped website and online shopping experience, as well as on tech to provide new ways to get products delivered.
  3. A rising housing market could have also played a role in Home Depot's success this quarter.

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About Conner Forrest

Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.

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