29 Jan HD Supply Site Review: Part 2
In this two-part article, we are taking a look at how HD Supply, one of the leading distributors of industrial supplies in North America, is tackling the challenge of incorporating several industry-specific eCommerce sites under one roof. Part One explored features of the Facilities Maintenance branch at HDSupplySolutions.com.
In Part 2, we’ll look at HD Supply’s Industrial and Construction site, WhiteCap.com (https://www.whitecap.com/). We’ll be watching this site, especially as HD Supply announced January 3, 2018 their plan to purchase A.H. Harris Construction Supplies, a specialty construction distributor for $380 million – signaling an investment and focus on this division.
HD Supply – White Cap
The WhiteCap.com homepage is unique among B2B distributor sites. It is clearly a shopping-focused site, and presents specific products front-and-center on the homepage. There are pros and cons to this design solution.
- Pros: This approach is extremely product-focused. From the initial view, customers are seeing specific products, with the ability to quickly view detailed information on those items.
- Cons: Products displayed are not customer-specific but instead are promotional items that the company is trying to push. While the goal is to get specific products in front of customers as quickly as possible, there is a risk that the products your business chooses to display aren’t the ones your customers are looking for.
Marketing messaging and promotional items should take a secondary seat to providing customers with easy access to the products they have come to see. White Cap’s homepage is product-focused, but should be refined by limiting the amount of marketing spots and including products that are customer-specific. For example, showing frequently purchased or recently viewed items for returning or authenticated users.
- Search feature and product category navigation are both easy to locate and use in the White Cap site.
- Top-level product categories are available in a dropdown via the main navigation, but navigating through multiple levels of subcategories can be cumbersome. As users click to subcategories, further subcategories are displayed, along with a group of Best Seller products related to the category. Depending on the depth of the category, users could be required to click through several screens until they reach a comprehensive list of relevant products.
- Options to register for an account and login are available in a common location – in the left top corner. The customer shopping experience is not disrupted by forcing an immediate login or registration.
- Account Management and user profile actions are all accessible upon login, but unlike HD Supply Solutions, there are no shortcuts provided to individual actions from the main navigation.
Product Detail Page
The White Cap product detail page contains detailed product information – helping the user make purchasing decisions.
- Product images, pricing, and availability details are the focus of the screen, with the ability to add to cart accessible and clear.
- Additional information such as description, features, and specifications are organized in a clean, long-form format, and anchor links let users jump quickly to specific sections of the product detail information.
- Cross-selling opportunities are also included by displaying related products grouped into “Customers Also Purchased” and “Alternate Product” widgets.
- Pricing and availability is clearly presented, but the transparency could be improved. Whether logged in or not, users see “Your Price” displayed, eliminating the opportunity to show any customer-specific discounts. Availability details are limited as well for guest users and users without credit accounts. (Note: Additional availability details may be visible for users with credit accounts with WhiteCap. Our access is limited to non-credit users.)
WhiteCap.com has a minimal approach to My Account. After login, a simple My Account link is added to the main navigation bar along with the customer’s name, adding some personalization to an otherwise formal interface. By clicking on My Account from the navigation, users are taken to their account summary, and enter a module of the site where they can access order, invoice, and other personal information related to their account.
- The easy-to-navigate sidebar provides links to individual screens and an overview of all of the information available to the customer.
- Order Tracking and “Details” provide general order information and the ability to quickly duplicate (reorder) a specific order with one click.
- Order Approval is also available, allowing customers to better manage their internal workflows.
- Information on “Jobs” and Invoices associated with your credit account. However: access to both of these services is not automatic and the functionality is less than optimal. Users with credit accounts with White Cap must first “link” their Commerce accounts with their credit account by submitting a short web form.
- This is a robust product-focused site, with products and promotions given prominent placement on the site. Taking some approaches that are more B2C eCommerce – like “buy one, get one free” the site is also easy for B2B users to search and find products.
- Whitecap’s Product Detail Page has a huge amount of product detail. However, the design, which is pretty minimal, makes it harder to scan the page quickly. The opportunities to cross-sell and up-sell on the page are well integrated – adding value and not distracting from the main product.
- The My Account interface is similarly minimal, but does offer important functions: order hsitory, job lists and approval management
One Company: Two Experiences
HD Supply proves that it is possible to have multiple sites under one overarching brand. Their two eCommerce sites, HDSupplySolutions.com and WhiteCap.com, are unique in their product offerings and design solution, but maintain their larger brand identity. They accomplish this through:
- HD Supply logo at top left of all pages
- Shared look and feel: colors, fonts and buttons
- Similar placement of search bar (top left, below logo)
By having two different sites, they have the opportunity to design a site that is customized for their specific customer groups. This gives HD Supply the opportunity to:
- learn and tailor based on site performance and customer feedback
- learn from the other site’s performance
- highlight customer-specific features, products and services
- focus on helping their customers do their job
We’ll continue watching how each site evolves: will they become more similar, more distinct, or merge? We look forward to seeing how these robust sites continue to change.