Home Depot: We’ve got a great new smartphone app designed specifically for professional builders and contractors. If you’re interested in reviewing it, we’d like to offer up a gift card for your time and review.
ToolGuyd: Sounds interesting. We would be happy to review the Pro app for free (as is our policy). If you insist on sending a gift card anyways, we’ll put it to use to test the app and order up some giveaway prizes for readers.
Weather – in case you use a weather app set to your home location, the Home Depot Pro app shows you basic weather information for your current location. There is a short lag, so it’s not necessarily real-time weather.
Manage in-store receipts – associate printed receipts with your personal or Pro accounts to help stay organized.
View order history and shopping lists
Reorder supplies – you can quickly add supplies to your shopping list by scanning in their bar codes. (Hopefully this works with reordering fasteners, as search engines typically show hundreds of options when all I want is one particular size that I’m running low on.)
Aerial views, videos, and other enhancements – coming soon? These features were not yet available as of late-October.
Why an App?
According to Home Depot, 93% of general contractors and 87% of sub-contractors use a mobile device of some sort at jobsites. Of the construction professionals that were polled. 58.9% said that mobility is important when considering IT solutions.
With this in mind, Home Depot sought to design the app based on the wants and needs of their professional customers.
The home screen has a search box, 6 tabs, and local weather.
Search via Typing
The app brings up search results a little quicker than Home Depot’s mobile-version website. This is probably because there’s much less data to download, but it pleases me nonetheless, as Home Depot product pages always seem to load at crawling speeds when I’m at the local Home Depot.
The search results page shows prices and model numbers, but this information isn’t as easily available on the product pages. To see these details on the product page, you have to scroll down and click through the descriptions tab.
Item Locations and Inventory Checker
One thing I’m glad to see is that product locations are shown prominently below the image. Newer products are not always where they’re supposed to be, in which case a store associate will need the SKU to help find it.
Click on the store, and the app will download an aisle layout map. The first time I tried to access this map nothing came up, but I tried for another product and it came up right away for both stores.
The inventory checker seems like it will come in handy as well.
Searching via Microphone
Searching for products by speaking into the microphone actually worked quite well, at least when searching for tools.
Milwaukee key measure? Okay, maybe I should have spoken clearer.
Ryobi drill driver? Came up right away.
Spax screws? Nope. The first two times it came up as backs screws. I tried a new pronunciation, and it instead searched for steak screws. So there is a limit as to what you can use the speech-to-text search service, but then again Spax would give any voice recognition program a bit of trouble.
Searching via Barcode
The first attempt was done with a Hart sledgehammer sample that has been sitting on my test bench for some time now. It took a few tries but came up after I straightened the plastic barcode card a little. Before that, I received three product not found errors.
After scanning a barcode, you’re taken to a product page, similar to above. I merged two screenshots so you can see the specifications and description tabs. Products that have been reviewed show a review tab with a quick-look star and numerical rating.
Here, the price is listed above the product image. This is different than for the Milwaukee tape measure page, show above, which did not show a price after clicking through from the search results list.
The specifications tab shows basic product details. As an aside, Home Depot is not the only mass retailer that needs to work on how they present product information.
The description tab shows you the model number as well as Home Depot’s online and in-store SKUs.
In theory, I would be happier if the model number was listed on the main product page. When shopping for supplies, this would make it a little easier to ensure that I purchase exactly what I need, such as 1″-long pan head self-drilling screws, vs. 1″ flat head screws.
I then tried scanning the barcode of a Ryobi 18V 6-port charger.
It came up without trouble.
Order History: Adding in-Store Receipts
After 2 minutes of scanning, I gave up. This receipt is from a month ago and has been sitting on my desk. It was folded, but not near the bar code. If it was crumpled up or faded, I would understand the difficulty.
Looking over the receipt, it seems to me that the receipt’s print quality just isn’t clear enough for my smartphone’s camera to pick up the barcode. There are a couple of thin white lines spanning the entire length of the receipt tape as well, further complicating the issue.
I pulled out a box of Spax screws, and the barcode scanner could not read the barcode. I was able to purchase the product without a hassle, so maybe the barcode is just too narrow for the software to handle. In this case, typing in the barcode works well.
When you add items via Quick Order, it presents you with a list of non-clickable items. You can add the items to your cart, add them to a list, or clear the cart. I wish that clicking on an item would bring up a product page, but it doesn’t.
You also cannot delete items from your quick order list.
I tried to access an older list from 2011 that has 28 items, and nothing came up.
I created a new list and added one item to it. At the bottom there is a link that asks me to a choose a store, so I clicked the link. The app crashed, twice. I tried again an hour later and it crashed again.
I tried to add items from my quick order list to a new list I recently created, and was faced with a loading circle for ~15 seconds until an error message popped up: internet connection needed, sorry we are having problems connecting at this time.
I tried again a half hour later, and it said it worked, but it didn’t. There were two items in my quick order list – a Dremel 160 piece rotary tool kit, and one pack of Spax screws. The Dremel accessory kit was added using a Home Depot SKU, and the Spax screws were entered using their UPC number since the barcode scanner didn’t work on it.
I tried again, and now my list has (3) Dremel accessory kits and (0) Spax screw packs. There was (1) Dremel kit already there, so after two tries there should have been (3) Dremel kits and (2) Spax screw kits.
Going through the home screen’s product search, the two closest stores both have these in stock, so there should be issue adding them to my quick order list or wish lists. When I tried to add quantity (1) to my list, I was again faced with a loading prompt and then another internet connection error message.
I tried again, and it looked like it worked. I checked my list, and the Spax screws still weren’t there.
Home Depot Pro Xtra
I signed up for a Home Depot Pro Xtra account, but that didn’t seem to give me access to any additional features in the app. Home Depot’s Pro Xtra page shows that as part of the service you get a free purchase tracking tool, discounted aerial photography, discounted business marketing materials, and a free project estimator, but these all seem to be completely independent of the Pro app.
If you carry a smartphone and shop at Home Depot, you should definitely give their Pro app a chance. It’s a free download, and it does come in handy. There are still some benefits if you’re not a pro.
The app does not seem to have any additional business tools for Pro Xtra users, although Pro Xtra users can take advantage of full non-mobile browser-based tools.
The app is not yet perfect, but it has not crashed except for the choose your local store link from within my shopping list. It shows my wishlist from 2011, but won’t open it. Every now and then the app suffers from connection issues, even when I seem to have a full 4G signal.
The best parts are the in-store product locator and inventory checker when looking up a product, the quicker-loading and more streamlined product pages compared to Home Depot’s regular mobile website, and the ability to search for products using text, voice, or barcodes.
I have yet to try the quick order features, but imagine it works in the same way as ordering via Home Depot’s mobile site.
I refer to my online order histories often when reordering consumables or wearables, and was really eager to add in-store Home Depot receipts to my purchase history. However, there is a quality issue with Home Depot receipts that don’t allow for this. I tried a couple of older receipts, but they were of even poorer quality.
I can still add in-store receipts to my new Pro Xtra account, but only by entering in the store number, register number, transaction ID, and sales date through my new non-mobile browser-based account on Home Depot’s Pro Xtra website.
Overall, the Home Depot Pro app offers enough functionality for me to keep it on my smartphone, but there are additional Pro Xtra feature enhancements I would like to see in the future, such as an optional deals and sales link on the home screen.
This app was tested on a Motorola Droid Maxx smartphone running Android version 4.2.2.
Disclosure: The Home Depot partnered with bloggers such as me for their Pro Technology program. As part of this program, I received compensation for my time. They did not tell me what to purchase or what to say about any product mentioned in these posts. The Home Depot believes that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. The Home Depot’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.
We agreed to evaluate and review the new Pro app without compensation. Home Depot insisted on still providing us with a gift card. We will accept the gift card, and will use a small part to test the app’s quick order and regular ordering processes. The rest of the value will be used to fund reader giveaways throughout the holiday season.