The company’s strategy is to prioritize associates and customers. Its inverted pyramid is organized to put customers first, then associates, then field support teams, and last the CEO. Home Depot executives and CEO Jim Rogers say that their number one priority is associates and customers. This approach is evident in their Olympic Job Opportunity Program, which provided benefits and employment to over 570 Olympic hopefuls over nearly two decades.
The Home Depot company was founded in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1978. By 2000, the company operated 1,100 big-box stores and had surpassed the $40 billion revenue mark faster than any other retailer in history. Their success is attributable to their unique store designs. Customers are treated to low lighting, cluttered aisles, and sparse signage. The company’s “stack it high” philosophy is a big part of their strategy.
The company was once owned by a Canadian hardware chain called Aikenhead’s Hardware. The company’s founder, Bernie Marcus, used informal surveys to understand what customers wanted from their stores. For example, if a customer left the store without purchasing any products, Marcus asked them why they didn’t. Many of the respondents complained that there weren’t enough items to satisfy their needs. Home Depot began buying products from their competitors and reselling them to customers.
Despite the success of its strategy, the Home Depot has faced many challenges. The company’s fast growth and lack of talent meant that it had a large number of stores and a low-quality workforce. Its lack of effective career development programs led to a shortage of store managers. Lowe’s and Best Buy, in particular, have a very high turnover rate. In addition, Home Depot’s inventory turns are extremely poor, with little margins and weak cash flow.