It’s a rainy Sunday, midsummer, and what’s a homeowner that does their own handyman work to do? Catch up on house maintenance and landscaping. It’s the post-pandemic era which means I haven’t been able to find a contractor to service our HVAC equipment in a year, so I really need to change filters in the two units I have in my house. I also need some organic vinegar-based weed killer, some cord for my weed wacker, some paper brush bags, and why not check out the gas grills they have over at our local Home Depot.
STEP 1: GOOGLE SEARCH FOR MY NEEDS
My phone is already clogged with work-related apps and photos of dogs, so I use the web and search “20X25X4 HVAC FILTER HOME DEPOT.” Despite Home Depot’s impressive website features – advanced faceted search, inventory availability stats, in-store guides, BOPIS – there were no filters of that size within 50 miles. I wanted to get this chore done TODAY so I searched again. They offered pick up in-store tomorrow, delivery in 48 hours at no cost, curbside pickup at a store 4 miles from my house tomorrow. The available options would have delayed my task by at least a day or two. Frustrated, I decided to try my luck the Lowe’s website….
STEP 2: SEARCHING LOWE’S
I used the same search term but with Lowe’s this time – “20X25X4 HVAC FILTER LOWE’S.” Their site loaded very quickly and to my delight, the search resulted in a product category page with 4-5 filters of my size needed. I clicked on the brand I recognized and on the resulting product page I received content indicating that the filters were available in AISLE 13 BAY 9 at the Dedham store only 7 miles from my house.
As we all know one of the hardest things about navigating big box shopping is finding the location of items you want, especially if they are in vastly different departments. That little piece of content right next to the “in-store” icon – “AISLE 13 BAY 9” – proved invaluable and made my decision to shop at Lowe’s a no-brainer.
STEP 3: THE PICKUP AT THE STORE
I had visited a Lowe’s before, but not recently. There’s an Ace Hardware in my neighborhood that’s my “go-to” because they are so convenient and there’s a Home Depot 3 miles / 10 minutes from my house. The Lowe’s was just a little more inconvenient, 8 miles / 20 minutes, but I needed my filters and I had limited time. Lowe’s fit the bill. And for me, the in-store location trigger was helpful to know. All I had to do was ask the first customer service rep in the store “where is aisle 9” and I was checking out in 5 minutes. But that was unlikely thanks to the science of retail merchandising, so I walked out having spent 100% more than the cost of the two filters I needed. I left with some weedkiller, some duct tape, a new set of Sharpie markers and some clothesline.
The most important aspect of this omni-channel / eCommerce experience is that I was activated by two useful pieces of information while online shopping – convenience and timeliness. The bottom line is that a superior, relevant customer experience got me to choose Lowe’s over Ace Hardware and Home Depot (my two favorite local options). I am now, of course, in the Lowe’s system receiving offers and have since made two online purchases. How much of Lowe’s winning me over was luck or circumstance? Probably a bit. As an omni-channel / eCommerce merchant, it’s crucial to offer core features and functionalities that customers need to ensure long-term success. Drop us a line if you’d like an AUDIT of your current eCommerce experience today!