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HIRI adds digital curb appeal

BY HBSDealer Staff

The Home Improvement Research Institute rolled out a new website, creating improved navigation for members and non-members of the non-profit, research-based organization.

“The website is an important interface between HIRI and our members,” said Pam Heidel, HIRI managing director. "The improved new look along with the responsive design will allow our members to easily access HIRI research with their mobile devices.”

The new HIRI website offers areas for members, non-members and those looking for events, news and research reports (which can be purchased on the site.) The kind of research available in the Current Research area falls under titles such as “U.S. Size of Market Report,” “Home Improvement Retail Selector Study,” “Product Purchase Tracking Study” and “Recent Home Buyers Study,” to name a few.

 The Web address is www.HIRI.org.

Founded in 1981, HIRI is a membership-based, independent, not-for-profit organization of over 70 leading manufacturers, retailers, wholesalers and allied organizations in the home improvement industry. With over 30 years of experience, HIRI is recognized is the leading source of information about the home improvement products and services in North America. By combining resources, member companies are able to leverage a relatively small investment into a large body of research that is both broad in scope and actionable in its detail.

HIRI receives management services from Lebhar-Friedman, the publisher of Hardware + Building Supply Dealer.

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Depot boosts its omnichannel firepower

BY HBSDEALER Staff

With sales of its online channel approaching $4 billion, the Home Depot is heavily engaged in making goods flow through that channel more smoothly.

In fact, the company’s common order management system, or COM, has been called the largest IT project in the history of the Atlanta-based retail giant. And during the recent Goldman Sachs Annual dotCommerce Day presentation, Kevin Hofmann, Home Depot’s senior VP and president – online, explained to investors how the retailer intends to flex its order management muscle.

 COM, he said, is an “inventory visibility platform” to oversee the millions of deliveries that take place through small delivery trucks, big delivery trucks, through direct fulfillment distribution centers and in-store-pick-up transactions. “The IT investments we are making are really to optimize that whole supply chain offering,” Hofmann said.

The COM will help identify the best fulfillment option for the customer and allow Home Depot to leverage its omnichannel options (or, in Home Depot jargon “interconnected fulfillment” options) in a more intricate and elegant way, he said.

The first consideration for investment in COM, Hofmann said, is customer experience. “We think there is absolutely cost of delivery, cost of transportation benefits,” he said. "But those are only after we solve for the customer experience.”

Other observations from Hofmann’s presentation:

• Buy-online, pick up in store is the retailer’s fastest growing e-commerce channel;

• The average ticket for e-commerce transactions are “considerably’ higher than the average ticket of physical store transactions; and

• One of the findings of Home Depot’s digital evolution is that ecommerce-related chat and e-mail is a great medium to exchange product information. “It’s something that’s growing very nicely for us,” Hofmann said.  

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Masonite introduces Heritage Series

BY HBSDealer Staff

Masonite International Corporation has launched the Heritage Series, a collection of interior molded doors that feature a recessed panel with a Shaker aesthetic.

"Masonite recognizes that homeowners have eclectic tastes and don't want to be confined in how they express them," said Tim Johnson, senior director, interior products for Masonite. "They want products that bridge and complement both traditional and contemporary preferences. The Heritage Series accommodates this desire, with the versatility to coordinate with a range of interior styles."

Contributing to the look and feel of authentic wood craftsmanship is added detailing on the panel inset, which creates the appearance of trim.

The recessed panel is also a feat of engineering. Typically, raised-panel doors draw strength from the V-groove. To compensate for the structural integrity issues typically facing recessed-panel doors, Masonite re-engineered the door's core and altered the skin-to-core adhesion process.

"The designers and engineers at our Innovation Center engaged in a truly integrated process to develop a core that eliminates the challenges normally encountered with recessed-panel doors while still remaining cost-effective," said Johnson. "The result is a breakthrough for the industry and increased design flexibility for end users."

Lastly, the doors are smooth and primed, ready for added layers of paint.

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