Home Depot Invests $60 Million in Handheld Devices
Depot Inc. will hand over 10,000 portable devices to its store associates
in 2010 to help them stock shelves, locate inventory, make telephone
calls and check out customers throughout the store.
$60 million investment will be Home Depot’s biggest capital expenditure
you compare us to a world-class retailer, from a technology perspective,
1991 is kind of where we are pegged,” Matt Carey, Home Depot’s chief
information officer, told Bloomberg
is the first big customer-service tool we’ve given our associates in
a very long time.”
technology includes mobile-telephone calling, walkie-talkie communications
among employees, and inventory management in a single device, Mr. Carey
Home Depot managed inventory by using computers powered by motorboat
batteries on rolling carts. In testing the devices last year, Home Depot
found that employees spent less time finding products within a store
and researching the amount in stock or availability at another
store. By clicking an icon on the screen, Home Depot workers can tell
customers when an out-of-stock item will be replenished. Or employees
can use the device to call other Home Depot stores and ask them to hold
merchandise. An attachment to the device processes credit and debit cards,
allowing purchases to be made away from the checkout registers, similar
to transactions at Apple’s stores.
least five of the handheld gadgets will be distributed to each of Home
Depot’s 2,000 U.S. stores this year, starting in the first quarter.
Depot’s handhelds are similar to those used at Lowe’s in enabling associates
to track inventory and locate items. Lowe’s employees can start customers’
purchases throughout the store, with cashiers completing the transactions
by typing in the shoppers’ phone numbers.
Questions: What features on handheld devices will do the most to improve
the customer experience?
What other retail channels outside DIY could benefit most from such devices
and in what ways?