They were initially set up as a local hardware store but it turned out to be a nationwide chain of home improvement stores. They serve to all the needs for complete home improvements like products from bathrooms to the storage rooms and paints to safes. Lowes store has approximately 216, 000 employees all over its stores.
Home Depot was started in the year 1978 and is operating currently in all 50 states of United States. They were initially a warehouse and then turned out as one of the America's best home improvement retailers providing products from appliances to hard wares. They have approximately 209, 300 employees working with them through out their stores. Both these organizations provide all the home improvement products under one roof.
Lowes and Home Depot have their own websites for the customers to browse through and purchase products. They offer variety of facilities as an online shop. In the recent decade online shopping has become on of the most comfortable and preferred was of buying goods and services. The E-commerce times (2005) stated "Online shopping has increased over last year because both new and experienced Internet buyers are not only researching products and comparing prices online before making a purchase, but they are also finding good holiday discounts online," said Heather Dougherty, senior retail analyst, Nielsen//Net Ratings. It is important to keep the information and the content interesting so that there is a high inflow of new and existing customers to the site.
There are few factors that are very essential for a website. The Gantt chart below represents the important aspects of a website from the Polls result of Port 80, Australian web industry association.
Meeting customer's expectations
Search engine optimization
Good graphic design
Keeping content current
Security of site where apply eg credit cards, privacy
A study on the websites of the home improvement retailers Lowes and Home depot:
Lowes has an exclusive website, www.lowes.com. The site is simple and neat which has its name and their caption which is "Let's build something together". The focal point is the photo at the centre of the home page. The picture simply demonstrates the availability of all the home improvement products at the store. The picture has all the products required for a complete living providing a spacious atmosphere interpreting the availability of modest merchandises. The description below that states "Campus kick off", which insists on the availability of all the home improvement products with them under one roof. The first glance of the site provides idea about the products available at the store, the offers at the store, quick link to other services and the service desk. The products in the site are separated according to the departments and rooms. This helps in easy identification and selection of products. The page also helps customer choose products by the offers at the store and there are a lot of useful information about Lowes in the home page. The