Big Box retailers are stepping up their investments in digital. L2’s Digital IQ Index: Big Box places nearly half of Big Box brands in the Gifted category, reflecting widespread innovations in omnichannel, mobile, and guided selling content. Hardware and Appliance stores perform particularly well, with Home Depot winning the top rank and Best Buy, Office Depot, and Staples also showing up in the top ten. Apparel brands like Marshalls and Ross cluster at the bottom of the Index, failing to match their peers in key site and mobile functionality.
1. Home Depot
Digital IQ: 144
Home Depot offers the best mobile experience in the Index. Its mobile site provides seamless m-commerce and multiple options to filter products, such as by local availability. Meanwhile, the retailer’s mobile app brings together extensive knowledge of its customer base with the latest technology. Users can search for products with voice-activated and image search tools; other innovative features include a virtual tape measure that uses the customer’s shoe size and number of steps taken to calculate an estimated distance.
Digital IQ: 137
The retail giant is a huge success on YouTube, responsible for the ten most-watched videos in the Index. That triumph results from the brand’s aggressive paid media strategy, combined with equally aggressive use of celebrity brand ambassadors. For example, Walmart’s five videos featuring the new Drew Barrymore eyeglass collection each generated over one million views.
The brand also performs exceptionally well in non-brand search, appearing on the first page of organic search results for 35% of all 284 search terms used across categories. In comparison, Amazon achieves first-page organic results on only 29% of terms.
3. Best Buy
Digital IQ: 136
Years of investing in the Athena customer database have finally paid off for Best Buy. The technology enabled the retailer to send highly targeted back-to-school and Labor Day email campaigns, rather than sending the same message to its entire database as it has in the past.
Best Buy also partners with key consumer electronics brands to create sophisticated brand shops. For example, the Apple brand shop features special product discovery pages with a wealth of editorial content, high-quality images, and “Shop Now” links for key products like the iPhone 6s and Apple Watch.
4. Office Depot
Digital IQ: 135
The retailer’s website boasts sophisticated e-commerce functionality, with inventory visibility across channels, in-store pickup, product comparison, and expedited checkout. Office Depot’s product pages are packed with videos, product tours, and detailed product descriptions from manufacturers.
The brand also has the highest performing suite of mobile apps in the Index. Its Apple Watch app particularly stands out as the only one to offer voice-activated product search and a store locator.
Digital IQ: 135
Target leverages beacon technology to enhance the in-store shopping experience. As the user moves through a store, the technology integrates with the Target mobile app to recommend nearby products.
Leveraging the excitement surrounding the newest “Star Wars” film, the retailer’s innovative cross-platform “Share the Force” campaign has driven strong engagement. The campaign includes a YouTube video series and a microsite for sharing Star Wars-related content. After site visitors select their favorite characters, each page features a bold call-to-action button linking to the relevant character collection page on Target.com.
Digital IQ: 130
Dick’s Sporting Goods leads the Index in terms of display ad efficiency, registering 5.9 million impressions per unique creative. Additionally, the retailer’s #SportsMatter campaign featuring athletes and celebrities has driven increased engagement on social media channels, while also raising funds for youth sports.
Digital IQ: 130
The office supplies retailer boasts a high percentage of organic real estate in Google brand search and performs well across the broader set of relevant category keywords. On social, its #OfficeMugShot campaign generated strong engagement by offering prizes for UGC.
6. Toys “R” Us
Digital IQ: 130
The brand’s desktop site features robust product pages on which reviewers can post their own photos and videos, unusual in a category where UGC is typically isolated in its own site area. The site also includes innovative tools like Gift Finder and Christmas List. Specific to the toy category, the retailer’s holiday catalog (The Great Big Toys “R” Us Book of Awesome) boasts interactive features such as games and 3D toy views as well as savings notifications to encourage holiday shopping.
Digital IQ: 129
Along with Kmart, Sears is one of only two Index brands to offer all omnichannel fulfillment options examined in the study on its desktop site. Those features include the ability to reserve items online, pick them up in-store, schedule delivery or pickup, and check the earliest delivery date. Sears also has a strong mobile site with mobile-optimized live chat and automatic geolocation.
Digital IQ: 126
The Virtual Room Designer offered by Lowe’s enables aspiring decorators to create and save room plans, although it misses the chance to provide a path to purchase. The brand also sends out highly personal emails that show recently viewed and related products, along with products that are trending in the customer’s area.
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