Lowe's executives unveil digital moves

Sales at Lowes.com are running about 35% ahead of last year, according to CEO Robert Niblock, who spoke to analysts during the retailer's recent Analyst and Investors Conference. Still, the Mooresville, N.C.-based home improvement giant has ideas on how to improve its digital business.

During the event, Niblock explained an important part of the retailer's vision: "Whenever, wherever the customer wants to interact with us, we're going to try and make it convenient for them." 

 

Among the projects to advance that goal are a mobile app to help customers buy product from their mobile devices. Lowe's executives said the company is adding at least 1,200 additional SKUs to the site each week. (It has more than 110,000 SKUs online currently.)

The lowes.com website is important to the retailer not only as an outright revenue generator, but also as a sales driver. "A large portion of our total sales are influenced online," said Larry Stone, Lowe's president and COO.

In early 2011, the company will launch "ask and answer" functionality for all product categories on lowes.com. With this feature, according to Stone, customers asking product specific questions will "receive answers from a variety of sources -- the lowes.com community, Lowe's employees and manufacturers."

The company has also enhanced its lowes.com in-store pickup guarantee -- instead of 30 minutes, orders will be ready in 20 minutes. To promote the change, the company's web site promotes the slogan: "Shop. Click. Pick up. 20 minutes guaranteed."

The moves reflect an increasingly multi-channel world.

"We cannot operate as independent sales channels because customers are not shopping that way," said Stone. "They're shopping at Lowe's, wheter that includes a single store, multiple stores, lowes.com, over the phone or an in-home selling expericence."