What do you do when your store footprint allows for a limited display of the appliances you can actually sell? How do you ensure that the customer, who wants to feel and experience the products they’re determined to purchase, will actually leave the store after completing a transaction rather than continuing to research or investigate alternative options? Can you increase your revenue and experience an ROI buy introducing a solution to answer these questions?
The answer is YES, and The Home Depot has found a way.
A customer comes into your retail store with the intent of purchasing a new refrigerator. The customer has potentially done some online research, identified the brand and features they prefer, and knows what color and finish they want. It’s a big purchase, so they come to the store rather than purchasing the refrigerator online only to browse through the appliance department and not find what they wanted.
It’s not a stretch for this to happen considering that the store has a limited inventory footprint. In The Home Depot’s case, each store can only carry about 5% of the appliances they have the ability to sell. So how does The Home Depot keep the customer engaged and increase the potential of the transaction never leaving the store?
The Home Depot partnered with Image Manufacturing Group and SapientNitro to develop the Appliance Finder virtual inventory solution.
While developing an attractive user interface and intelligent experience, SapientNitro integrated with The Home Depot’s merchandising and inventory management system to make 100% of their inventory available to the customer. In fact, they developed a solution whereby the customer could find, choose, and purchase the product on the spot.
Image Manufacturing Group was chosen to manufacture a brand-consistent kiosk with these requirements:
- Design an attractive solution that gets the attention of the customer
- Engineer and choose materials that are rugged and able to withstand the movement of the environment
- Neatly integrate the components necessary for the consumer transaction
- Package and deliver the kiosk to each store as required
DESIGN & ENGINEERING
The initial design phase began with a rendering provided by SapientNitro. Image Manufacturing Group collaborated with the designer to address specific functional and structure requirements that would affect the aesthetic of the design. Our engineering team set out to develop the mechanical drawings necessary to insure that the kiosk would be visually appealing, include brand identity, sturdy and durable, and produce a valuable perception to the customer.
The cabinet must securely integrate the components selected by The Home Depot and SapientNitro that would be included in the virtual inventory system: the touchscreen, CPU, speakers, power supply, card reader, and ADA features. The integration of the components must also be manageable at the store level for installation and in the event that the CPU would require rebooting or other maintenance must be performed. Of course, as with all technology, the cabinet must be able to keep the hard-working components cool for optimal performance.
FABRICATION & ASSEMBLY
Image Manufacturing Group was responsible for all aspects of fabrication including metalworking, painting, and casement assembly.
All internal components were shipped to Image Manufacturing Group’s Atlanta production facility for installation. Upon installation, Image Manufacturing Group’s team organized the cable management portion of the interior for maximum stability and ease of organization and maintenance.
The program rollout began in a sample of 130 stores and expanded to triple the sample size. Early results are in, and The Home Depot claims a 10-12% uptick in appliance sales in stores featuring the Appliance Finder.
Customers who leverage the kiosk for themselves are often introverts looking for their own solutions; however, associates for The Home Depot have learned to utilize the kiosk as a sales tool, walking customers through the user interface and allowing them to experience the feature photos and videos pertaining to each product.