Home Depot Uses Cloud to Tap ‘Do-It-For-Me’ Market

July 5, 2013, 5:09 PM ET

Home Depot Uses Cloud to Tap ‘Do-It-For-Me’ Market

Rachael King

Home Depot Inc. plans to expand a service that connects shoppers who need help installing purchases like tile or ceiling fans to local contractors. That service relies on communications infrastructure from Twilio Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. “The market is moving from do-it-yourself to do-it-for-me,” Anthony Rodio, vice president of Home Depot, told CIO Journal. About 42% of home improvement projects are now done by outside help, he said. For the first time since 2008, sales to professional contractors is growing faster than sales to consumers, said Frank Blake, Home Depot CEO on a conference call with investors on May 21.As the housing market recovers, Home Depot is again seeing business from smaller professional contractors who spend less than $10,000 per year with the company,according to a Wall Street Journal article. Professional contractors often need help finding their next job. “The company thought that if they could help pros find their next job, they might be more loyal to Home Depot,” said Mr. Rodio.

In January 2012, Home Depot acquired Redbeacon, an online marketplace where consumers can request bids from pre-screened local contractors. That service now operates in five Home Depot markets including San Francisco, Atlanta, Austin, Dallas and Las Vegas. In the next few weeks, the service will expand to more locations on the West Coast and then start to roll out in various markets across the country, said Mr. Rodio, who is also the CEO of Redbeacon.

The Redbeacon service uses Twilio, which provides communications technology for the text messaging and the mobile customer service that Redbeacon has embedded in its website and mobile app. The text messaging, customer service and other communications operate on Amazon Web Services.

As Home Depot executives better understand how Redbeacon operates, they’re starting to see that other parts of the company might also benefit from the “do-it-for-me” approach, said Mr. Rodio. “They see how we’re able to run call center operations more efficiently than they do at Home Depot,” he said. By running on Twilio and Amazon Web Services, Redbeacon can operate its virtual call centers without buying physical switches or paying $400 for a handset, he added.

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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