What book is on your nightstand or to-do list?
Godbole has sought out history, mystery and science books during the pandemic — all combing to serve her need for both knowledge and comfort. A few specifics include “Freedom at Midnight” by Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre; “The Gene: An Intimate History” by Siddhartha Mukherjee; and the Rex Stout mystery series.
What has been your pandemic-prompted hobby?
Reading, cooking and a little piano: “I’ll be a beginner forever.”
Where are you looking forward to traveling?
Godbole had just returned from Iceland, which she described as “spectacular.”
What is your most used mobile app?
Lowe's (of course) and Sudoku.
She joined Lowe’s in November 2018, enticed by both the size and complexity of its business, as well as the thought of serving a customer base who often made significant purchases requiring thoughtful decisions.
Godbole was also drawn by Lowe’s CEO Marvin Ellison’s view on the importance tech plays at retail — she recites a quote from their first meeting: “‘All great retailers have a few things in common, and one of top things in common is they have great technology.’” — as well as the company’s evident desire for change.
“I saw this real hunger for transformation and customer experience, which really was my sweet spot,” she says, and this trifecta combined for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
It’s a recipe that’s proven to be Lowe’s secret sauce, as the essential retailer not only navigated an e-commerce explosion but also increased store sales. Like other retailers, Lowe’s seized the pandemic’s digital acceleration to institute long-held tech initiatives, but the company has also swiftly upgraded its store experiences — often marrying the two in the process.
Godbole had been in the CIO role for just over a year when the first murmurs of COVID-19 began bubbling up, and she says the pandemic quickly hit home into her associates’ and customers’ lives. As shoppers hunkered down and had plenty of time for home-improvement projects, it didn’t take long for Lowe’s to realize they sought experiences that made them feel safe.
So while Lowe’s did experience a massive influx of e-commerce sales — not to mention adoption of contactless fulfillment options like curbside checkout and pickup lockers — their foot traffic also flowed freely thanks to their wide, spacious stores — a setting that proved to be one people felt more safe to shop in.
At the same time, Godbole says concern for their 300,000-plus associates’ wellbeing was firmly top of mind, understanding the childcare issues suddenly thrust upon them, the ill family members they had to care for, and even those associates who became ill themselves. While many employees were still in stores every day, others, such as those in the contact center, were navigating the new, often-boundaryless remote work environments.