The Home Depot logo. (PRNewsFoto/The Home Depot)
The Home Depot logo. (PRNewsFoto/The Home Depot)

Home Depot’s launch of its car and van delivery express options and the early development in its supply chain overhaul are several ways the retailer is increasing its presence in the pro market. In the company’s third quarter 2018 earnings conference call yesterday, Home Depot announced that pro sales once again outpaced DIY sales and were a large part of the 5.1% increase in sales from the year-earlier period.

Ted Decker, Home Depot's executive vice president of merchandising, said big-ticket sales, transactions of $1,000 or greater, were up 9.1% in the third quarter compared to the third quarter of 2017. The big-ticket sales accounted for 20% of all of Home Depot’s U.S. sales, according to Decker. Home Depot’s average ticket was up 3.5% in the quarter to $65.11, indicating larger transactions are becoming more common for the retailer. Growth in pro-heavy markets, such as power tools, concrete, and several plumbing and electrical categories all posted comps above the company average for the quarter, Decker said.

Home Depot’s definition of pro includes remodelers and builders, as well as maintenance, repair, and operating supply workers.

One effort that is aiding greater pro penetration is the retailers’ focus on enhanced delivery and fulfillment options. The company is in the early stages of a five-year investment journey to reach 90% of the U.S. population with same day or next day delivery capabilities for products, including bigger and bulkier goods, president and CEO Craig Menear said on the call.

Home Depot has rolled out car and van delivery for over 40% of the U.S. population, with increased utilization from both the pro and DIY customers. Marc Brown, senior vice president of store operations, said as the delivery truck options get larger, pros become more engaged. Home Depot’s flatbed deliveries have been very pro-focused and pro-oriented, while car deliveries have been more successful with DIY consumers.

These efforts and developments in the third quarter complement Home Depot’s efforts in the second quarter to target the pro market. In the second quarter, Home Depot indicated it had developed a beta of a B2B customer website that would provide pro customers with workflow management tools, quoting tools, approval tools, order histories, and a repository for all outstanding puts. The website is expected to launch in the fourth quarter. Likewise, Home Depot opened its first Market Delivery Operation (MDO) in the second quarter of 2018, part of the retailer’s plan to expand fulfillment centers. Menear indicated that additional pilots were scheduled to open throughout the remainder of 2018 and early 2019.