News Feature | May 12, 2015

Lowe's Innovation Labs: Creating The Future Of Retail

By Megan Zielinski, contributing writer


Major home improvement company, Lowe’s, is very much unlike its traditional competitive counterparts. While in-store employees are hard at work assisting customers to find the right tools and products to improve their homes—behind the scenes, engineers and technology experts are strategically inventing state-of-the-art developments—determined to take the customer experience to a whole new, futuristic level.

Recognizing we live in an exponential world, Lowe’s Innovation Labs are building new technologies to solve consumer problems with uncommon partners. Since 2014, Lowe’s introduced the 3-D Holoroom, science fiction prototyping, and retail service robots into select Lowe’s stores nationwide.

“Lowe’s is one of those amazing organizations on the planet, they have an executive team that really thinks about how to deploy new technologies in very courageous new ways,” stated Rob Nail, associate founder and CEO, Singularity University.

Using the Holoroom, customers have the opportunity to physically experience the layout and design of the dream room they created in augmented reality, with the ability to share the visuals with friends and family members through an app for an even better description—as pictures speak 1,000 words. The Holoroom allows customers to save on expenses, time and potential disappointment as they can fine-tune plans according to their realistic experience, changing things before construction even starts. Partnering with unique organizations including SciFutures, Lowe’s is helping customers to imagine what the future may be and helping them to craft it.

Bilingual OSHbot greeting robots are programed to identify, communicate, and navigate items quickly for busy customers. The robots save customers time as they no longer have to search aisles endlessly looking for items they came into Lowe’s for. As in-store inventory is rearranged, the robots automatically adjust to the reorganization overnight in preparation to help customers the next day. While customers leave stores satisfied, in-store employees will have even more time and energy to focus on important projects to further enhance the brand. 

As of this April, Lowe’s and Authentise 3-D Services is giving customers the chance to affordably design customized address plates, light switch plates, door handles and cabinet knobs either online or in a California Orchard Supply Hardware store. Kyle Nel, executive director of Lowe’s Innovation Labs, believes that 3D solutions “is core to home improvement and positions Lowe’s at the forefront of the digital manufacturing revolution.”

Technology is changing fast and The Lowe’s Innovation Labs plans to always be one step ahead as Nel revealed, “The things that are coming up are going to blow people away, no question about it. I cannot wait for people to see it.”