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Lowe’s exec: Mobile represents 20pc of Web traffic

January 31, 2013

The Lowe's Android app

SAN FRANCISCO – A Lowe’s executive at the 2013 Mobile Marketing Association Forum San Francisco said that mobile represents 20 percent of the company’s Web traffic, showing how the medium is increasingly becoming a bigger priority.

During the “Mobile and retail: How Lowe’s develops and leverages a complete view of the consumer” session, an executives from Lowe’s spoke about how the brand has steadily been growing its mobile footprint. The panel was moderated by Jeff Hasen, chief marketing officer at Hipcricket, New York.

“We recently announced to Wall Street that mobile now represents 20 percent of our online traffic,” said Sean Bartlett, director of mobile strategy and platforms at Lowe’s, Mooresville, NC.

“That does not include tablet traffic – we do not do anything specific to tablets at the moment so we don’t count that as mobile traffic, so when we talk about that it is very specific to mobile Web, iPhone and Android,” he said.

“The ramp has been pretty tremendous.”

Build on mobile
Lowe’s mobile strategy centers around Android, iPhone and mobile Web components for both consumers and store associates.

Lowe’s has rolled out more than 42,000 in-store iPhones to help associates connect with shoppers. Using an app, associates can help users find more information about in-store products.

Additionally, the retailer is trialing mobile point-of-sale to let consumers check-out quickly. The technology lets associates print receipts or send them via SMS or email.

Lowe’s also intertwines its loyalty program – My Lowe’s – to track purchases, create shopping lists and profiles.

Additionally, helping inspire consumers is a big part of how Lowe’s uses mobile, showing how its core strategy focuses on more than driving sales.

Mr. Bartlett

Personalization is critical to creating a deeper relationship with consumers. Locating a nearby store with real-time availability is one way that Lowe’s creates more personalized experiences.

With consumers coming into stores to price check, it is critical that marketers have the tools to prep for mobile shoppers.

“If a consumer comes in and wants to talk about price, it is right there at the fingertips of the store associate, so again it is about the overall experience for us and outfitting both customers and associates with open transparency with what is out there and help answer any questions that they might have,” Mr. Bartlett said.

Mr. Bartlett and Mr. Hasen

Build a use case
Providing utility is key in Lowe’s mobile strategy, which ultimately aims to drive repeat usage.

For example, since many of Lowe’s mobile initiatives take place in the store, offering Wi-Fi is a must.

Similarly, if a brand wants to support bar code scanning, mobile point-of-sale has to also be included.

There is a lot of talk in the industry about mobile payments and technology.

In particular, near-field communication is one technology that is being eyed by marketers to let consumers pay via their devices.

However, the opportunities from NFC go way beyond payment, per Mr. Bartlett. These experiences include driving personalized information and sharing data.

“What we are doing is not just about commerce – it is about the overall experience and the user experience,” Mr. Bartlett said.

“It goes way beyond creating the desktop experience on a mobile device and hoping we sell some refrigerators,” he said.

“The fundamental belief is that commerce is a byproduct of the greater experience and whether that commerce occurs via a phone, a desktop, a store or a call center, ultimately it is good for the company, and the consumers are going to choose whatever makes sense for them.”

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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