Profile: Jennifer Wagner, Director of Visual Merchandising for Operations and Strategic Initiatives, The Home Depot

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03/22/2021
a woman wearing glasses and smiling at the camera

Jennifer Wagner has been with The Home Depot for nine years. Before moving to the in-store environment, she was working in store operations, where she was a co-captain for the retailer’s annual Operations Product Walk experience. During that process, she met Jalal Hamad, senior director, in-store experience, and stayed in touch with him. When an opportunity opened up a couple years ago, she was excited to apply and then join his team.

What are your current duties?

WAGNER: I am responsible for the visual merchandising and strategy of areas not typically associated with merchandising, like Pro, credit, rental and home installation services. I am also responsible for our strategic initiatives, such as our in-store wayfinding project.

Describe the structure of your organization as it relates to merchandising.

WAGNER: I have a very talented team. We split the business units and keep like areas together. An example is keeping our Pro department and our loyalty program, Pro Xtra, with the same visual merchandiser. It helps provide a better global perspective when working on projects. We interact with consumer insights whenever possible to help us make data-driven decisions through observations, customer interceptions and panel interviewing.

How has the emergence of the omnichannel shopper influenced your overall approach to merchandising?

WAGNER: 2020 challenged the non-merchandising side of our business to speed up. We have gotten ideas to execution faster than ever. We launched curbside pickup in less than 14 days nationwide. Knowing that a majority of consumers were going to move to online shopping, we needed to determine how to help them get the product once they got to the store.

Tell us about one of your recent merchandising successes.

WAGNER: We recently completed our final stores for the wayfinding project. This took five years to complete, but for the first time in company history, all of our U.S. stores have the same standards for directional signage. This is a huge accomplishment by the working team.

SEE THE FULL 'WHO'S WHO' REPORT

For our complete list of merchandising executives, view the Who's Who in Merchandising 2021 report.

How has technology played a role in helping Home Depot maintain high standards in merchandising?

WAGNER: We have been putting a huge focus on QR codes for our home installation services team. We launched QR codes throughout the store for 35 categories that take shoppers directly to the lead page for their category of interest. Customers really like a contactless solution. We’re looking for new ways to expand this concept in stores.

How does Home Depot utilize merchandising to service its Pro shoppers?

WAGNER: We focus on highlighting benefits such as our bulk savings or Pro Xtra program rewards with strategic placement. We focus on the Pro desk and help the overall team with messaging throughout merchandising categories. This keeps the wording consistent so our Pro customers know exactly what we offer and how being a part of our programs can benefit them.

a sign above a store

CAREER ACHIEVEMENT

WAGNER: I am proud and humbled to have worked on our in-store COVID-19 signage package in 2020. Keeping our associates and shoppers safe is a top priority for the company. Changes were happening fast across the country, with regulation changes almost weekly. We were able to move quickly to help our stores maintain a safe environment. We truly believe in servant leadership at The Home Depot. Our associates are working on the front line every day helping people, so it was important to me to help keep everyone safe.

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