*Originally published May 3, 2022

In 2007, The Home Depot had no digital presence, it was solely a brick and mortar company. Yet, its biggest threat was Amazon and the change in consumer behavior towards a digital expression of retail. What happened next?

Frank Blake, the new CEO, decided to shift the direction of the company towards the digital platform. Many people said, “you are crazy! Why would you create something that will cannibalize our customers and take them away from The Home Depot stores!?” 

Home Depot had tons of money and employees invested in their stores. However, this change wasn't intended to cannibalize the traffic to those stores, but rather to reach the 94% of people who did not consider themselves to be DIYer’s and therefore did not shop in the stores

 We see digital as a threat but the evidence shows us it is not a threat at all. There are 4 retailers in the top ten online retailers in the US who also have a brick and mortar presence. While these four–Target, Home Depot, Macys, and Walmart–have a huge online presence, not one of them sees more than 10% of their revenue online. Meaning, their digital strategy wasn’t built on competing with Amazon on Amazon’s terms of a fully digital experience. Their strategy was successfully built to engage new audiences. The result? In-store traffic increased by 500% to 700%. 

Market research tells us that none of these widely held beliefs are actually true of the “Amazon Church:”

  • That people only consume online 
  • Digital Church is just a huge broadcast play
  • The direction of church is towards a fully virtual expression , or a metaverse
  • That we are all going to become Christian avatars

What we have learned is that digital is not a threat to our mission. It’s only a threat to our traditional models.  

Bottom Line: The more these companies focused on their digital platform, the more traffic it drove to the physical stores, and there is a lot we can learn from these companies about reaching people for Jesus.

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