Home Depot closes its Spanish website after just four months
May 4th, 2009
Posted by Danny Allen
The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday ($) that Home Depot is shutting down it’s Spanish language website just four months after launching it. The main reasons cited were disappointing sales numbers and because more than half of the site’s visits came from outside the United States.
Home Depot based the site on research that showed Spanish-speaking consumers preferred shopping in Spanish even if they were bilingual, and that researching home-improvement projects in English was more difficult.
“All the information showed it was the right move, but we brought it out during the holidays and in the middle of a recession,” said Mr. Defeo.
My questions are how did Home Depot promote the site in the US, and what were their sales expectations?
It seems that if more than half of their visits were from outside the US, they were either not promoting the site enough within the US or targeting their online ads very poorly. Simply launching a Spanish language website is never enough. This isn’t Field of Spanish Dreams where if you build it they will come. Did they do US targeted SEM? What else did they do? To be fair, I don’t know much if anything about their marketing efforts, so they may have done everything right. I just haven’t heard about it.
As for the sales expectations, it seems that investing in a Spanish language version of your website is a long term investment. The WSJ articles says that “[t]he site replicated the company’s English language e-commerce site, with 40,000 products available to online shoppers.” That’s a huge investment in a website. It seems like the kind of thing you do to take advantage of the long-term growth of the US Hispanic market. Four months during the middle of a recession seems like hardly the time to be evaluating a long-term strategic move like this.
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