Home Depot is heading into the holiday season with fresh momentum in online sales. The home improvement chain on Tuesday reported a 50% spike in digital sales in the third quarter, easily outpacing the 7% gain in overall sales to $19.5 billion.
Online sales now account for 3% of the company’s total sales, which is double the share from a year ago. The number of overall transactions overall were up 13 million in the quarter, with 1 million of those coming through its online channels.
During the earnings conference call, Home Depot didn’t point to any specific initiative or factor that led to the jump in its online business, instead emphasizing efforts to fuse online and in-store sales to drive higher overall revenue.
The 50% rise in online sales, for instance, includes merchandise ordered online and picked up in stores. “We look at this totally interconnected, how do we increase strong growth in our stores, how our stores did the same thing for our online presence and it seems to be getting good traction,’ said Home Depot CFO Carol Tome, during the call.
Company chairman and CEO Frank Blake also pointed out the company upgraded its Web and mobile sites, including refreshing category pages and simplifying the checkout process. That helped lead to double-digit gains in traffic and conversion rates in the quarter.
In addition, Blake said Home Depot also made improvements to the mobile devices for its sales devices, allowing them for the first time to process buy-online and pick-up in-store orders directly from their devices without having to use a terminal.
Speaking at an industry event earlier this year, Home Depot CMO Trish Mueller highlighted the increasing mobile investments the retailer is making to help link online and offline shopping. Its primary app, for example, features an interior map for each of its 2,000 stores, along with voice-activated assistance, a barcode scanner and detailed product information.
Mobile shopping generally is expected to increase this holiday season. Almost half (49%) of smartphone and tablet users plans to use their devices to research and buy gifts, and 36% plan to do more mobile shopping this year than last, according to a new study by Compuware Corp. The findings were based on a survey of 2.025 U.S. adults, among whom 1,191 were smartphone and/or tablet owners.
Looking ahead to next week, Craig Menear, executive vice president, merchandising at Home Depot, said the company planned to offer “extreme values” to traditional DIY-ers and professional customers on Black Friday both online and in stores.