As eCommerce continues to disrupt the retail industry, companies with brick-and-mortar stores must find innovative ways to stay relevant. Not only is it now more difficult to get buyers into stores, but stores don’t always offer the level of digital sophistication that customers are coming to expect. A 2015 survey conducted by Accenture found that customers believe the in-store experience is the shopping channel needing the most improvement. It also found that customers believe stores lack digital sophistication, as well as, a seamless transition to online buying.
These findings pose an issue for retailers because brands greatly benefit from getting customers into stores. A recent study from Rutgers found that consumer spent more money per month in physical stores than they did online. Additionally, it found that the conversion rate is four times higher in stores than online.
Going forward, we’ll be looking at Lowe’s, a retailer that has been transforming its in-store experience in an effort to both digitally integrate, as well as, capitalize on the higher rate of in-store conversions.
From an Errand to an Experience
The home improvement giant has spent the past few years enhancing its stores across the U.S. and Canada. With a focus on new technology and AI, Lowe’s has been creating new, innovative ways to aid customers and assist in their DIY successes. From robots, to VR DIY projects, to smart home gadgets, Lowe’s wants shoppers to feel like home improvement buying isn’t just an errand, but an experience.
Get Directions, Translations, and Product Specs from Robots Roaming Aisles
Last year, Lowe’s introduced LoweBots in its San Francisco Bay Area stores. Coming out of the company’s Innovation Lab, LoweBots serve as basic guiding posts to shoppers. Instead of being an incredibly complex solution, using a LoweBot is meant for needs such as finding hammers, understanding the difference between the lightbulbs in stock, or locating the restroom. This simplistic service makes home improvement shopping less time consuming and less daunting. Not only does this make customers happy, but it brings them back in.
Immersive DIY Projects through VR
Lowe’s recently released its on-demand VR skills clinic in stores. Termed the Holoroom How To, the technology allows shoppers to receive much more than just design recommendations. The VR and AR technology is meant to teach customers the skills needed to complete projects, and give them the confidence to do so. Lowe’s says that the simulation allows users to feel like they’re completing a task, such as re-tiling a shower, without the mess or uncertainty of completing it in real-time. Lowe’s sees that customers want more from a shopping experience and the Holoroom How To is a way of providing it.
Make Smart Home Purchases in Confidence
In 70 Lowe’s stores across the nation Lowe’s shoppers can now try and buy smart home products from brands such as Google, Sonos, Nest, Samsung and Ring. The in-store pop-ups run by b8ta (a third-party helping sell these products) provides Lowe’s shoppers with a more digital in-store experience. Additionally, by allowing customers to touch, test, and compare products, Lowe’s is encouraging users to come into the store to make purchases.
While there are no guarantees of success in the competitive home improvement market, Lowe’s is making strides to differentiate its customers’ experiences in-stores. Their bots, VR, and b8ta stores exemplify the need for in-store innovation and we’re excited to see what’s next for DIYers in need.