Home Depot Postpones E-commerce Plans

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The Home Depot has postponed plans to add e-commerce its Web site because it is apparently a bigger undertaking than the company originally expected.


The home improvement retailing giant last week announced plans to fully integrate e-commerce capabilities into its Web site by June next year, despite earlier pledging to integrate e-commerce with a limited inventory by the fall of this year.


The initiative demands a lot more work than had originally been estimated, Don Harrison, a company spokesman said. "It's intimately more ambitious and detailed than we originally thought. Our customers are simply not interested in a limited offering, they want the whole store online . . . They want to be able to check product availability, order it in the store, buy it online and get it delivered, and be able to return it to the store.


"We have 852 stores throughout the country so it makes sense to use them for fulfillment." Harrison said.


From interviews with shoppers in its 800-plus stores, visitors to the Web site and a direct mail campaign, Home Depot discovered that fulfillment is going to be "a huge part of this new pie," Harrison said.


The Atlanta, GA-based company was unwilling to provide details of the questions it asked shoppers and site visitors. Harrison did add that "Right now we're in a real steep learning curve. We will not really know what marketing lessons are going to be learned until we start selling products Online. We're not going to be stampeded just to be the first in the pool."
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