How Home Depot is building customer experience from the outside in

The retailer's growth strategy hinges on the success of what CEO Craig Menear calls "One Home Depot." Here's what making good on that strategy looks like from IT's point of view.

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Home Depot CIO Matt Carey CIO

Home Depot CIO Matt Carey and Maryfran Johnson, editor-in-chief of CIO Events, at CIO Perspectives Atlanta, March 9, 2016

At the CIO Perspectives event in Atlanta (March 2016), Home Depot CIO Matt Carey sat down for a fireside chat with Maryfran Johnson, editor-in-chief of CIO Events.

Carey is “on a mission to create an interconnected retail experience” that uses physical and digital assets across Home Depot’s 2,200-plus stores and distribution centers. The $80 billion retailer is pushing to transform the customer experience across all its channels, whether it’s in stores, in a person’s home, online or on a customer’s mobile device.

“Most people try to solve for what their internal problems are, or a pre-determined view of what they think the experience should be,” Carey said. “We want to listen to our customers first, they tell us how they’d like to shop with us, and how they’d like to see us presented to them, and make those changes appropriately.”

Carey said the big momentum was to switch from a project-centric approach to one that’s more product-centric. For example, instead of multiple people working on in-store checkout, online checkout, mobile checkout and in-home checkout (four different projects), instead they focus on the customer experience of “checkout” and have it be the same across the different situations (and usually having one team understanding all of those options).

Carey also touched on how Home Depot updated its order management system, changed its processes to give associates more time to help customers instead of sitting or standing at a computer, new online and mobile projects and how they recruited millennials away from Google. In addition, he explained how renovating the office space at the IT group helped with innovation, and experiments with the cloud, big data and analytics.

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