Lowe’s Omnichannel Initiatives Continue to Bear Fruit

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Lowe’s Omnichannel Initiatives Continue to Bear Fruit

By Tim Denman - 09/18/2016
Lowe’s continues to benefit from a strong housing and home improvement market, growing comparable sales in the first half of the year by 4.4%. CEO Robert Niblock points to the home improvement retailer’s continued commitment to the customer, specifically its omnichannel strategy and investment, as the key factor driving the increase in sales.
 
Thanks to Lowe’s ability to recognize shopper demand and tailor its goods and services o localized and individual preference, the retailer has seen average tickets increase by 1.7% in the first two quarters.
 
"We delivered a solid first half of the year and made continued progress against our key strategic priority, providing better omnichannel experiences to more closely connect with customers, deepening our relationships with the pro customer, and driving productivity and profitability," Niblock said on a recent earnings call with analysts. "We continue to generate strong cash flow, enabling us to strategically invest in the business, while returning capital to our shareholders."
 
One recent such investment was the redesign of the brand's e-commerce site, Lowes.com. The retailer launched the new site is Q2 to advance the "online shopping experience with optimized functionality and display for touch-screen devices to support a better mobile experience, improved product and content recommendations, refined search algorithms, improved click-to-chat capabilities, larger project images and expanded product views, including video content," said chief customer officer Michael Jones. "We are seeing improved performance and have received great customer feedback on the new site."
 
While loyal Lowe's digital shoppers required a period of adjustment after the new site launched, online sales still continued to grow throughout the quarter. "We still had solid double-digit comp performance on the platform at 14%," said Richard Maltsbarger, chief development officer and president of international. "We expected roughly a five-week disruption period from the relaunch of the platform. Historically, that's what we've always seen. And that held true again. We ran back to the normal run rates after that five-week period when the customers became adjusted to the new site and how the new site functioned."
 
In addition to its digital shopping investment, Lowe's continues to devote resources to its analytic capabilities to better connect with the consumer. Lowe's is flexing its analytic muscles in the promotional realm to better utilize its promotional messaging to ensure the right promotion is presented to the right customer.
 
"[We use our] consumer insights analytical capability to tweak promotions to make them more efficient," said Jones. "I think you will see us use some of our marketing digital capabilities to ensure that we're getting better utilization on how we extend our promotions."
 
Lowe's commitment to the customer experience is paying off, as it was recently named the highest in customer satisfaction among client retailers based on the knowledge of sales specialists, breadth of assortment, competitive pricing and delivery by J.D. Power and Associates — the eighth time in the past nine years.