The “big box” home improvement and DIY store was founded in 1978 and has become something of an icon in the US. Having grown into the world’s largest home improvement retailer, Home Depot is synonymous with enormous orange stores stocking virtually everything you can think of for the home.
Having done $94.6 billion in sales during 2016, the company is set to continue its run as a colossus among hardware stores.
Like other large retailers, Home Depot has seen the opportunity within the mobile market and set to capture mobile shoppers through its app.
Given the scale and budget capabilities of the company, you’d expect to see a world-class app, right? How does Home Depot’s iOS app actually stack up under scrutiny?
We’re highlighting the good, the bad, and the interesting here – for more details, please order a full version of our report at the end.
Home Depot’s shopping cart feature has been intuitively created. It works as the average user would expect – allowing them to add an item to the cart from product pages and see the cart icon in the top right-hand corner of the screen showing how many items are in the cart.
Once we get to the shopping cart screen, it has some great customer-friendly features. For example, you can choose to have the item shipped to your home or your local store, or you can choose to go in and pick it up right away if it is in stock. Customer expectations are managed by clearly showing expected shipping times.
The display in the cart shows clear images and a good description, along with making it easy to adjust quantities or remove the item.
Providing options for how customers checkout is a known factor for improving the experience and likelihood of conversion, and Home Depot delivers by offering a Paypal option in the cart. This is something which sets them apart from other “big box” stores.
Unfortunately, despite these great features, when we went to check out this time, we were greeted with a loading screen which repeatedly looped us back to the cart. Hopefully this was just a temporary and uncommon glitch, otherwise it will cost them sales!
When a big box store like Home Depot puts out an app you expect it to be good. Surely the business can afford to hire good developers, right? For this reason, we were surprised to note that its App Store rating is just 2.5 /5 stars, one of the lowest-rated apps we’ve ever tested.
These low ratings began to make more sense as we tested the app. Overall function tended to be sluggish with slow search results and navigation between categories and pages. We seemed to spend as much time staring at a “loading” indicator as we were shopping.
Additionally, while the app had some features that seemed like a good idea, the ideas weren’t always well-implemented. For example, it has a custom lists feature, but these are difficult to access, requiring navigation through extra screens. The default “shopping list” remains the easiest option.
On the other hand, we found a strange quirk where custom lists will sync across multiple devices but the default list will not. You’re left with a choice of using the easier, default list but having to stick to one device, or using custom lists and having to take extra steps to add to them. This perhaps provides one explanation as to why this app doesn’t rate well in the store.
A feature that captured our attention off-the-bat was the inclusion of image search. We love this idea! However, we did find that there were some issues with the feature, such as cutting off around a third of the image we used.
It did return a pretty good result when we tested it to search for sunglasses though, displaying options that were quite similar to the original image. We then tried photographing a mason jar at an odd angle and the app delivered some relevant results.
Oddly enough, it performed the worst on an image you’d expect Home Depot to do best on – a screwdriver. It only returned us four results and if you’ve ever been in-store, you know this is a fraction of the options available. Our overall assessment is that while this is a cool feature, it’s a little unreliable.
Home Depot’s iOS app operates intuitively enough for the user, but leaves a lot to be desired in terms of performance.
As a popular “big box” store, it is expected that people will look for the app and that they may lose sales due to issues such as slow loading and unreliable features. We gave this app a rating of D+ and hope to see improvements made in the future.
Author: Emily Gomez & Einar Vollset, Corresponding Author: [email protected].
For each teardown we collect over 200 data points, including UX best practices, search capabilities, payment integrations as well as re-engagement tactics and social/engagement features. Each teardown includes an overall score, along with the score for each of the 20+ categories we collect data under. We then provides either video and/or slideshow content of the actual app, highlighting important parts of the app along with particularly good, bad or surprising functionality.