Ann Zimmerman at the WSJ reported in the Saturday edition Home Depot closed it’s Spanish language on line store after just four months of being open. I don’t speak Spanish and I’m not in the business of selling home goods, but this is really weird news to me. Either HD is in a lot of financial trouble and can’t carry new initiatives for a full release, they are pulling back for a relaunch with broader shipping options, or the marketing didn’t work at all.
Web strategy is more important to tackle from a company culture standpoint and not from simply a business unit view. World wide distribution was key to this release and it’s just weird they pulled the trigger to launch this site without that. As Ann eludes to, their research did tell them that Spanish speaking US shoppers want to shop in Spanish. The thought process from there was… “Can we build a site to serve these shoppers?” when the question that should have been asked and researched first was “How much of a financial and pageview barrier is an english store to our Spanish speaking visitors and customers?”, and “Should we build this site”. – Especailly heading into the project knowing you don’t ship internationally.
Web strategy is a slippery fish in a changing market. I’m trying to work on this in my company and it’s like nailing Jello to the wall with all the people that both need and want to throw their 2 cents in. As I take a look at our web strategy for commerce and marketing sites, I have to keep our market focus and have the ability to say no to launching sites that will not benefit us corporately in the end. We all pass the home construction sites and have been at the dinner table discussions on legal and illegal Spanish speaking immigrants working construction jobs all around us. The last 5 years we’ve seen more and more Spanish labeled signs on HD trips for products. The launch of this site was the obvious next step. Interesting it didn’t seem to work and the boys around the boardroom table decided to shut it down. What is their slogan? “You can build it, We can help”. Looks like if you want to build it, they can still help. But if you want to build it by purchasing online, they can help – just not in the Espanol. Adios.
Mattofact: Go big or go home, and have the stamina for some type of extended launch to prove or disprove the business case – or don’t even show up.