Virtual Tour for a Digital Age
Retail websites often strive to recreate the look and feel of their brick-and-mortar location. McDaniels Do it Center in Snohomish, Wash., goes several steps further — offering a virtual tour of the entire store.
The tour is possible through a technology from a New York-based vendor called Instant 360, which promotes a “Google Street view inside your business.” McDaniel’s hardware owner Brad McDaniel said the feature – planted front-and-center on the McDaniel’s Do it center website – helps show off the store and gives the customer a sense of the breadth of offering. And while it might not be the best way to direct customers to specific SKUs, it does allow them to see everything in the store.
“People can see that, yes, we have sporting goods, or, yes, we have a lawn and garden offering,” McDaniel told HBSDealer. “Plus, it’s a fun thing to have on our website.”
[Take the tour here]
According to stats on the Instant 360 website, two out of three consumers want more virtual tours. And additionally, virtual tours help double interest in business listings, with particular impact among 18 to 34 year olds.
For a web site enhancement project, the Instant 360 solution was relatively inexpensive, McDaniel said — under $1,000. All it took was a specialized camera/machine to spend a day rolling slowly through the aisles to capture the visuals.
“You’ve got to try new things all the time, and keep trying them,” McDaniel said. “People are using their smart phones all the time, and these digital tools to reach them are increasingly important.”
Inspectors dive into Depot’s dumpsters
Between 2013 and 2015, inspectors searched home center dumpsters in California, looking for violations of waste disposal rules. This week, a judge ordered Home Depot to pay $27.84 million in connection with allegations that the company unlawfully disposed of hazardous waste.
Alameda County Superior Court Judge Brad Seligman has ordered Georgia-based Home Depot to pay the amount to resolve allegations that Home Depot unlawfully disposed of hazardous wastes and discarded records without rendering private customer information unreadable.
A Home Depot spokesman told California TV station NBC 7: “We’re pleased to have settled this, and we remain committed to the responsible disposal of waste. We’ll continue to work with California officials to that end.”
According to the Yolo County District Attorney’s office, 45 Home Depot dumpsters were inspected. “Every one of these dumpsters contained hazardous waste, including pesticides, aerosols, paint and colorants, solvents, adhesives, batteries, mercury-containing fluorescent bulbs, electronic waste, key shavings, and other toxic, ignitable, and corrosive materials,” according to a release. “Many of the dumpsters also contained discarded records containing sensitive customer information that had not been shredded or rendered unreadable, including customer names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses.”
Under the final judgment, Home Depot must pay $18.487 million in civil penalties and costs, and an additional $2.513 million to fund supplemental environmental projects furthering consumer protection and environmental enforcement in California.
Busy Beaver opens in Grove City
Pittsburgh-based Busy Beaver has opened a 50,000 square-foot location in Grove City, Pa. The Grove City store is the first of five new Busy Beaver locations planned for opening in 2018.
The new home improvement center brings approximately 20 new full-time and 10-15 part-time jobs to the region. It features an expanded seasonal department, an indoor lumber yard, a farm and ranch department, and a designated contractor service center.
The company, a member of the True Value Company co-op, also announced plans for the new store’s neighborhood Grand Opening event, which will be held on Saturday, April 7, 2018.
“We’re pleased to bring a comprehensive selection of products to Grove City for area homeowners, contractors, DIYers, farmers and all residents,” said Joe Kallen, CEO of Busy Beaver. “At the new store, our customers can expect to find what they need, get knowledgeable help, and experience legendary customer service each time they visit.”
The Grand Opening event will feature gift card and product giveaways, kids activities, with a charitable contribution to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Currently, Busy Beaver operates 18 stores in three states: Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia. The staff count is about 350.