Online-to-Offline: From the App to Aisle

pinterest logoI’ve been writing and speaking about indoor location for some time. However I’ve had relatively few direct encounters with these experiences “in the wild.” Partly this is because deployments are still rare and mostly in “proof of concept” testing.

However last week I was taken totally by surprise by one such experience as I conducted some personal shopping research.

I was on the Pinterest app on my iPhone looking for a “shoe bench” for my entry hallway. I pinned a dozen or so examples. Then I encountered one and wanted to see a price.

Pinterest Home Depot

I clicked through on the above Pinterest page and was transported to the following page on Home Depot’s mobile site:

Home Depot pin

At the bottom of the page I noticed the “in stock” message and, next to it, the “Find it Aisle 34″ prompt. Of course I clicked through. The next screen I saw was the following, showing where in the store the item was located:

Home Depot in-aisle

Needless to say I was impressed. From the app to the aisle — boom.

It goes almost without saying that Pinterest has a massive opportunity to drive e-commerce and offline retail transactions. The question for Pinterest is how deeply it wants to coordinate with retailers. I would argue the more integrated the better for all parties.

There’s quite a significant local opportunity for Pinterest, but that’s really another discussion. For now, you can see the power of this example and being able to direct users to local stores and even specific locations within the store.

This is in many ways the fulfillment of what I’ve been writing about for a decade.

Upon visiting the Home Depot store, I downloaded the app and activated WiFi. I got a prompt that invited me to opt-in to the “in-store experience.” Among other aspects of that experience were personalized shopping lists (cross platform) and floor plan maps.

Home Depot in-store experience

In many respects the Home Depot “in-store experience” was a 1.0 experience and crude version of what’s possible with indoor location. But kudos for Home Depot for getting out ahead of the curve and implementing this.

In 24 – 36 months these types of experiences will be the norm. Thoughts? Reactions?

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10 Responses to “Online-to-Offline: From the App to Aisle”

  1. Perry says at

    fascinating. good to see a real use case. 

    The macro question seems to be: if you had two options 1] being led to the aisle [with confidence that the product is indeed, really in stock], or 2] having it offered to be delivered to your doorstep tomorrow, which would command more of your shopping budget? 

  2. Greg Sterling says at

    I think it would entirely depend on whether not you needed to see the product in order to make a purchase decision. If you had confidence that you wanted to buy that product and had already made a decision then having it delivered would be fine.

  3. Perry says at

    Agree – I think of it the same way.  

    In my personal experience, better product photography [with in-room views like show in your example] and quality spec information give you better details, the more I lean towards delivery. 

    I’m not convinced that the example you outline does not just become a more efficient path to showrooming, vs. a game changer on spending shift. If I confirm the product is what I want, AND can get it delivered predictably tomorrow, I’d click to buy online for ~x% price improvement. 

  4. Greg Sterling says at

    I agree. I don’t think this experience that I’m showing above is the antidote to showrooming. There are other strategies and tactics that combat showrooming behavior but the ability to connect the dots between a product online and its in-store availability, down to the aisle, is impressive and will lead additional people into stores. If they showroom after that that’s another matter,

  5. Street Fight Daily: Same-Day Delivery Stays Hot, China’s Tencent Bets on Local | Street Fight says at

    […] From the App to Aisle (Screenwerk) Greg Sterling: It goes almost without saying that Pinterest has a massive opportunity to drive […]

  6. Ed O'Keefe says at

    Greg – so who’s powering this end-to-end for HomeDepot?  

  7. Greg Sterling says at

    Not sure. It’s really about the back end and real-time inventory visibility. Then the indoor stuff is one of the indoor location vendors probably (not sure which one). 

  8. joe pistell says at

    Combine the stock count at that store and match it to the merchandising schematic (aka “plan-o-gram”) and viola’, you’ve got it.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planogram

  9. pankaj Mathur says at

    I think that Aisle411 is the  doing this for Homedepot.

  10. Greg Sterling says at

    Thanks I’ll follow up with them

  11. Greg Sterling says at

    I have discovered this particular experience is not a result of aisle411

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