Big-Box Genius: Best Buy And Home Depot Lead Digital Race

When it comes to digital shopping, it’s no surprise that Amazon comes out first by almost every measure. But a new report from Gartner and L2 finds that after Amazon, Best Buy and the Home Depot also deserve “Genius Status.” 

Walmart, Target and Wayfair are ranked as “Gifted.” 

And of the 68 retail chains measured, five do so poorly they merit a “Feeble” ranking: Home Goods, Family Dollar, RH, Ethan Allen and Do It Best.

The report finds that by and large, chains are doing a better job of blurring the lines between physical and online shopping. “Big-box retailers are less concerned with which channel shoppers choose to convert — 76% of retailers with physical stores offer in-store pickup, and over half offer online shoppers the ability to filter items on category pages by in-store availability,” the report says. “These features allow customers to purchase and receive products through a multitude of channels, as well as help create a credible and convenient alternative to Amazon Prime’s free two-day shipping.”



In addition to using digital to boost sales, more stores are using their physical locations to create better experiences, innovate with new fulfillment options and leverage category expertise. 

Best Buy and the Home Depot score so highly because they are finding ways to turn that in-store expertise experience -- finding a blue shirt or an orange apron to consult --  into a digital experience, as well. 

While 62% of all the stores in the survey offer a live chat feature, it says the Home Depot excels with its new Apple Business Chat experience, in addition to providing live chat on its brand site and mobile app. And it says Best Buy helps people making big purchases with “interactive comparison functionality on both desktop and mobile.”

That company’s customer service technologies and loyalty programs, including Best Buy’s Geek Squad access, better position it to compete against Prime.

The survey points out that both Walmart and Target are growing from digital transactions, but that most recent advances in comparable store sales have come from predominantly in-store purchases, in part due to in-store and curbside pickup.

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