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EXCLUSIVE: Home Depot builds retail media network around DIY needs

EXCLUSIVE: Home Depot builds retail media network around DIY needs

Melanie Babcock, VP of Orange Apron Media and monetization, Home Depot

The Home Depot Inc. has a unique customer base and tailors its retail media network to maximize brands’ ability to target it.

Chain Store Age recently spoke with Melanie Babcock, VP of Orange Apron Media and monetization, Home Depot, to discuss the details of how and why the leading home improvement retailer launched a retail media network in 2018 and then upgraded it to the new Orange Apron Media offering in March 2024.

Babcock discussed how Orange Apron Media helps brand partners of Home Depot optimally reach its residential and pro customers at crucial times in the buying process, using lawncare brand Scotts as a specific example.

What made Home Depot decide to offer a proprietary retail media network?

Our first launch was in 2018 and at the time there were less than 10 of what I would call first-party data networks, not necessarily housed at retailers. I was building out what we called our audience marketing practice, which was reading signals from our customers involved in certain home improvement projects.

I thought this data would also really be important to our suppliers because they also want to whether a customer is working on a bath project or painting their house; those are difficult signals to gather and are owned by the retailer. 

I started thinking about how to easily give our suppliers access to our audience data for them to connect with customers along their buying journeys. There wasn’t any ‘Big Bang’ moment.

What benefits does the network offer Home Depot and your partners?

When Home Depot is healthy, our partners and customers are healthy. Everyone wins. Orange Apron Media is here to make that whole process easier and better.

The Home Depot customer is very different in their buying cycle from customers of other types of retailers. A customer could go to a mass retailer and pick up bread and eggs and shoes, but as soon as they start solving problems in their home, their relationship with the retailer changes and it becomes about the project and specific needs associated with it.

Before Home Depot had a retail media network, our suppliers didn’t have a lot of access to those customers or points of consideration. Only Home Depot had that data, and we used it for personalized marketing purposes. 

The benefit to the supplier is they can now intersect a customer in the varying points of those project journeys, which can be somewhat long, or can introduce new and upgraded products.

It’s an opportunity for the supplier to be introduced to the customer, not only in the buying journey, but in communicating to the customer features like product innovation and price points that are important to the customer. A customer isn’t going to buy a kitchen faucet that many times, so they want the right one.