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EXCLUSIVE: Lowe's CIO Digs Into the Retailer’s Spatial Computing Venture for Apple Vision Pro

Apple's Vision Pro is out and Lowe’s first application designed for the mixed-reality headset is now available. Seemantini Godbole, Lowe's EVP and chief digital and information officer, tells RIS why the new tech is “extremely inspirational."
Jamie Grill-Goodman
Editor in Chief
Jamie goodman

Are you ready for spatial commerce? Apple's Vision Pro launched February 2, and home improvement retailer Lowe’s first application designed exclusively for the mixed-reality headset is already available on the App Store. 

Timed with the Apple Vision Pro launch, Lowe’s Style Studio comes after years of work by Lowe's Innovation Labs, celebrating its 10th year anniversary this year, and members of the Lowe's mobile apps team.

The Lowe's Style Studio leverages spatial computing to provide customers with an immersive 3D kitchen experience, allowing them to visualize and design their dream kitchen from the comfort of their homes. Seemantini Godbole, Lowe's EVP and chief digital and information officer, tells RIS the new customer-facing retail technology is “extremely inspirational, but all that inspiration can be translated into real products.”

How Lowe’s Style Studio Works

Lowe's
Seemantini Godbole, Lowe's EVP and chief digital and information officer, says the new tech is “extremely inspirational." Credit: Lowe's

Lowe's Style Studio allows users to step into their personal 3D kitchen and quickly audition new colors, finishes, and products, using simple gaze-and-tap gestures. They can choose to explore preset styles curated by Lowe's professional designers, and customize hundreds of real-world materials, fixtures, and appliances — all available at Lowes.com or in stores. With nearly 80 billion possible combinations, they can then turn the virtual kitchen designs into professional-looking style boards — in a format that can be shared outside of Vision Pro with friends, family members, designers, or design customers.

Godbole, who was also RIS’ 2023 CIO of the Year, notes that all the products in Lowe's Style Studio are sourced from Lowe's catalog and are in-stock today. 

“They are buyable today,” she shares. “So that vision, you can absolutely realize once you design that vision.”

virtual kitchen
Timed with the Apple Vision Pro launch, Lowe’s Style Studio is available now. Credit: Lowe's

Inspiring Shoppers and Pros

Apple’s VisionPro retails at $3,499 or $291.58 per month for 12 months, and Godbole notes that Lowe's Style Studio is meant for both consumers and Pros (professionals). According to proprietary research from Lowe’s in 2023, nearly one in three Pros (32%) ranked retailer-specific mobile apps and built-in tools among the top three innovations with the greatest potential to improve their job. 

Lowe’s is keeping a “very open and honest perspective on what more could this mean from us,” Godbole shares, for both consumers and Pros. “And we are going to learn from the consumer. So we are going to watch them, how they use it, how they respond, and we continue to evolve and imagine more experiences.”

To start, in a forthcoming update, Lowe's plans to allow users to synchronize their style boards with their Lowe's.com accounts, providing a seamless omnichannel experience. 

“You’re going to be able to save your style board, everything you just selected [for your] kitchen design, and you're going to be able to save that to your profile. I'll tell you this, it's going to take weeks/a couple of months, and not more than that for sure. The teams often surprise me by doing it faster than I think, which is the fun thing about our team.

“Now, I'll also tell you the possibilities once we do that are limitless, because once you save it to your profile, then you could go into the store and refer to it with an associate. Many times what we have seen is people design their kitchen, but then they have questions or then they need a little nudge or confidence building measure from our central kitchen designers, people in their own families, or fellow customers or associates in the stores."

At launch, customers can share their style boards with family, friends, and professionals by sending them as text messages.

“So we have that sharing facility today,” she notes, “but once you save it to your profile, then because of the omnichannel technology we have built, the foundation we have built, sharing it with your kitchen designer, with your contractor, with the associate at the desk in Lowe's is going to be super, super simple. And that's what we are excited about.”

Lowe's image
Lowe's Style Studio allows users to step into their personal 3D kitchen and quickly audition new colors, finishes, and products, using simple gaze-and-tap gestures. Credit: Lowe's

Lowe's Innovation Labs

The journey towards Lowe's Style Studio began with Lowe's Innovation Labs, which have been at the forefront of exploring emerging technologies for the past decade. The Lowe's Style Studio application builds upon previous experiences, such as the Kitchen Visualizer and Measure Your Space.

“We are building this experience on top of all of that foundation,” says Godbole. “It didn't take us that long, but frankly, it seems like we've been working at it forever.”

However, Lowe's Style Studio was a collaborative effort between innovation labs and Lowe’s apps team. Putting those two teams together “was dynamite” she notes, but their priority was asking, “what would the customer expect? How would they perceive this? What problems are they trying to solve?”

The teams were applying all the knowledge, all the usability labs Lowe’s does, and continuous customer feedback. But according to Godbole, that was not the most challenging part. “It was really about, ‘hey, what are we going to solve?’ How do we make sure that we stay true to our mission and not be over complicated — keep this experience really simple, but really powerful.”

What marks the Lowe's Style Studio as cutting-edge technology, is that it combines spatial computing, which layers content on top of physical surroundings, with commerce. 

“We are putting commerce on top of that spatial computing,” she shares, which she feels is a good balance. “We are inspiring our customers and we are increasing their confidence to choose. Once they have that vision, then we are making it really critical and real. They can buy all those products, work on their project. That’s the combination of commerce and spatial computing.”

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