The terms "next-generation" and "garage door opener" don't seem especially well suited for each other. But if you're in the market, you can find a technology-packed garage controller with features like motion controlled LED lighting, an optional backup battery pack supply, and a quick but quiet 2 horsepower motor.
The Ryobi garage door opener will help "turn your garage into the best room in the house," the manufacturer boasts, and it includes flourishes like internet connectivity that lets you monitor and control your garage from anywhere just by using an app on your phone. It's only available at Home Depot (NYSE:HD) as part of the retailer's exclusivity strategy that aims to build customer loyalty around a unique product offering.
The souped-up garage door controller is one of a handful of items that the company recently highlighted in its annual innovation awards. The product won honorable mention along with a few other interesting runners up:
- Defiant LED Blade security lights -- Blankets an area with 180 degrees of motion detection outside of the home, leaving no dark or blind spots.
- Nexgrill Evolution Plus gas grill -- Allows for both direct heating and infrared cooking at the same. Preheating takes under 5 minutes and the 500 square inches of cooking area can handle 19 hamburger patties, with an additional side burner for added flexibility.
- Diablo carbide-tipped hole saw -- The industry's first carbide-tipped saw can cut through wood and metal, is ten times faster at cutting through hard materials, and has a stronger battery that delivers three times more holes per charge.
The winning product this year was Pergo's Outlast laminate wood flooring, which promises an industry-leading 24 hours of defense against any liquid spills. "Rest assured that your newly installed floors will stay clean and sleek," Pergo says.
Innovative offerings like these are central to Home Depot's retailing strategy. It aims to achieve what executives call "product authority" to help it gain market share at the expense of rivals. Home Depot has a strong track record on this score: Comparable-store sales have outpaced competitor Lowe's (NYSE:LOW) for several consecutive years, most recently by a two percentage-point margin.
Looking deeper into its results, there's plenty of evidence of its product strategy delivering results. Customer traffic is up a strong 3% over the past six months as sales per square foot passed $407 from $387 a year ago.
Sure, it helps that the home improvement industry is growing at such a fast pace right now. But one of the reasons that Home Depot is claiming more than its fair share of the gains is a purchasing scale that it can leverage to source innovative and at times exclusive products. "Our strong vendor partnerships make this possible," an executive explained recently.
The retailer credits a few innovative offerings including Bluetooth enabled smart LED light bulbs and unusually tough, red helix style drill bits with helping it maintain its product advantage in 2015, when comps rose by 6% against Lowe's 5% gain. It's likely that executives will name a few of the above products as contributors to the market-thumping 5% comps gain that Home Depot expects to achieve in 2016.