Case Study: Lowe’s Adoption of AI Technology

Background

Lowe’s Companies, Inc., a prominent name in the home improvement retail sector, has consistently shown its commitment to embracing technological advancements in its operations. Situated in Charlotte, N.C., the company’s recently established tech hub is a testament to its dedication to becoming a leading customer-centric omnichannel retailer. In collaboration with NVIDIA, Lowe’s has embarked on the development of digital twin technology, crafting an interactive virtual model of its stores. This initiative is a part of the company’s broader strategy to utilize AI and other state-of-the-art technologies to enhance the in-store experiences of its customers and refine its retail operations.

Key Observations

Lowe’s has been ramping up its investment in technological infrastructures, as evidenced by the recent inauguration of a tech hub in Charlotte, N.C. This commitment is further highlighted by their collaboration with Nvidia to develop digital twins, which are intricate virtual representations of their physical stores. However, while the company has a functional online chatbot, its in-store AI applications to cater to location-specific customer needs remain somewhat limited.

Deep Dive: Lowe’s Adoption of AI

Approach

Lowe’s is taking steps to centralize its technology development as part of its broader initiative to solidify its position as a customer-centric omnichannel retailer. This vision is further exemplified by its collaboration with NVIDIA, focusing on the development and implementation of digital twin technology to produce an interactive virtual replica of its stores. Ultimately, the aim is to leverage the potential of AI and other cutting-edge technologies to enhance the in-store experience and streamline retail operations.

Implementation

Lowe’s has pioneered the creation of digital twins for two of its stores, providing photorealistic replications that empower employees to visualize and engage with nearly the entirety of a store’s digital data. Concurrently, they have also rolled out the “Measure Your Space” feature within the Lowe’s iOS app, streamlining the process of room scanning, measurement, and estimation for users. However, there’s a noted distinction in the functionality of the Lowe’s app chatbot; it is primarily geared towards the online shopping experience and doesn’t adequately address the unique in-store, location-specific requirements of customers.

Results

Through the implementation of the digital twin approach, Lowe’s has gained a more refined visualization of store layouts, enabling strategic product placements and forecasting consumer behavior within the store setting. This innovative step was complemented by heightened user engagement driven by the “Measure Your Space” feature, further enhancing the interactive dimension of the Lowe’s app.

Challenges and Barriers

A significant issue emerged in Lowe’s in-store location-based service. While the company boasts an app chatbot, it wasn’t tailored to provide support within the physical store environment. This limitation became glaringly apparent when customers required assistance for products positioned in hard-to-reach locations. There’s a clear need to harmonize the digital capabilities of online AI services with the unique in-store demands of customers. Additionally, persuading customers to install the app and maintain an active geolocation for a tailored in-store experience presents its own set of challenges.

Future Outlook

As AI continues to advance and the demand for location-specific services grows, there’s an opportunity for Lowe’s to delve into AI implementations that address in-store, real-time customer requirements. This could pave the way for more tailored promotions based on a customer’s in-store location, which in turn could optimize sales and elevate customer satisfaction. By further harnessing and integrating AI, Lowe’s has the potential to transform its supply chain operations, inventory management, and overall customer service experience.

Conclusion

Lowe’s journey with AI showcases the brand’s determination to remain at the forefront of technological innovation in retail. While they’ve made significant strides, especially with the digital twin concept and app features, there’s ample room for enhancement, particularly in optimizing in-store AI assistance. As AI continues to evolve, it’s anticipated that Lowe’s will further bridge the gap between their digital and physical retail experiences, ensuring a seamless and enriching customer journey.

Sources:
Lowe’s Busts Through Data Silos With Digital Twin Traffic-Tracking Avatars
AI In-Store: Where’s The Chatbot For Better Service?
Reinventing Retail: Lowe’s Teams With NVIDIA and Magic Leap to Create Interactive Store Digital Twins


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