Lowe’s looks to build ‘channel-less’ customer experience

Lowe’s and Google Cloud have announced they are expanding their partnership to create a “best-in-class technology foundation.”

The move includes improving the retailer’s customer service experiences while providing store associates with better tools to assist customers, regardless of whether they are shopping online or in a store.

The tech move for the home improvement company includes new investments toward modernizing Lowes' e-commerce, merchandising, supply chain management, and pricing systems. Lowe’s said that it will ultimately provide a more fluid, "channel-less" customer experience spanning from product discovery to return visits.

[Read more: " continues to lag online."]

Lowe’s is in the early stages of a multiyear technology transformation and is investing more than $500 million annually through 2021. The Mooresville, N.C.-based retailer is also hiring up to 2,000 engineers for the purpose of strengthening its retail experiences.

"We are making substantial investments in technology to modernize our platforms and advance our digital capabilities to better serve customer needs and deliver the best service and value across every channel," said Seemantini Godbole, executive vice president and chief information officer of Lowe's. "Partners like Google Cloud provide the innovative tools and support we need to execute our digital transformation."

Lowe's began transitioning off its legacy e-commerce system in late 2018, choosing Google Cloud with the goal of increasing the speed, reliability, and performance of The new platform helped Lowe's improve the stability of its e-commerce site during this year's peak holiday buying season.

Lowe's is now looking at how Google Cloud technology can improve the customer experience across all parts of the business, with a focus on three key areas:

A seamless, personalized digital experience: Lowe's is working to optimize the online customer journey, from search to navigation to checkout, personalizing the experience for different types of customers.

Merchandising and inventory improvements: Using Android-based mobile devices and Google Cloud technology, Lowe's is giving store associates the ability to view and update pricing and inventory on-the-fly. The company has rolled out 88,000 SMART Mobile devices to allow its associates to efficiently access realtime data without leaving the sales floor or losing engagement with a customer.

Data analytics and machine learning: Lowe's is also leveraging Google Cloud to grow its capabilities using machine learning and analytics. By centralizing its data lakes into BigQuery, Lowe's will empower employees across the company to gain greater visibility into different aspects of the business and make more data-driven decisions. This data centralization, coupled with artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms, will provide Lowe's with the ability to model everything from the impact of severe weather to demand forecasting.

"The winners in the retail space will be those who focus less on the individual transactions and more on building long-term customer relationships that evolve and stay relevant as consumer preferences and channels change," said Thomas Kurian, CEO of Google Cloud. "Lowe's already has great relationships with its customers, and we're helping extend that in new and exciting ways."

Godbole is scheduled to speak about Lowe’s IT transformation at the RF 2020 Big Show in New York this afternoon. Also, Neelima Sharma, Lowe's senior vice president, technology e-commerce, marketing and merchandising, will discuss Lowe's partnership with Google Cloud on a panel moderated by Carrie Tharp, vice president, retail at Google Cloud.

Another piece of Lowe’s technology transformation is the company’s new tech center in Charlotte, N.C. Located in the city’s Design District, the center will occupy 15 upper floors in the 23-story building while serving as the epicenter of Lowe’s technology efforts.