Home Depot Deploys Mobile Checkout To All Stores

In a move that Home Depot CIO Matt Carey said makes the chain stand alone, the home improvement giant has deployed a mobile device to associates at every one of its U.S. locations. This Motorola device—which Home Depot is calling First Phone—is a mobile register, in addition to providing access to all inventory, locating products, handling buy-online-pick-up-in-store purchases and functioning as a walkie-talkie. And, oh yes, it's also a phone.

Carey described the device in an analyst conference call Wednesday (Dec. 8). Earlier, CEO Frank Blake stressed that the mobile device "was developed through close cooperation with our store operations and IT teams, perhaps the best collaboration we've ever had on a project like this." Elsewhere during the call, Home Depot Online President Hal Lawton said his site has more than 8 million visits a week, but even more interesting was this statistic: 45 percent of Home Depot's site visitors visit the stores right after reviewing the Web pages. That is much higher than industry norms for multi-channel retailers, Lawton said, adding that Home Depot will finally offer buy online pick up in-store chain-wide in 2011.