How do You Feel About Lowe’s Today?

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How do you feel about Lowe’s today? In my opinion, as one of the biggest home improvement retailers in the USA, Lowe’s could be doing a little better.

In no uncertain terms, I prefer Home Depot today to Lowe’s.

There are at least 5 Home Depot stores within a 30 minute drive that I enjoy shopping at. I’ll shop at Lowe’s on occasion, usually to see if there’s anything I missed online that ToolGuyd readers would be interested in hearing about.

There are some Lowe’s stores I enjoy visiting, but they’re both around 30-40 minutes away or so. The couple of Lowe’s closer than that are just okay.

In-store, the main difference between Home Depot and Lowe’s is that Home Depot always has compelling promotional displays.

When shopping in-store, I’m usually there either to pick up something specific, or to browse around for new seasonal bargains. In the past year, I’ve bought a couple of things on impulse from Home Depot stores – cold weather work gloves, 2-packs of carbide-tipped pruning reciprocating saw blades, an aloe plant, a utility knife if I recall correctly, and probably a couple more things.

From Lowe’s? There’s rarely anything interesting until October/November. However, I’ve learned my lesson about shopping at Lowe’s in October or early November. If I wait a couple of weeks, most of the seasonal promos will drop in price. Home Depot does the same for some things, but the fraction is a lot smaller.

Lowe’s website can be hard to navigate at times. I also feel that Lowe’s is far behind Home Depot with respect to tool deals of the day and online promos. I visit Home Depot nearly every day to see if there are any promos, and often shop for supplies.

Home Depot drop-ships certain products, which I don’t mind as long as delivery is free either way. Lowe’s seems to ship certain products from stores, which in the past has led to “oops, we don’t have this” phone calls or automatic cancellations.

In-store shopping experiences can be largely influenced by different managers or associates, and so I try not to let negative one-off experiences reflect on the company as a whole.

Lowe’s online experience can be fixed. I’m not sure how, but things can be improved.

The retailer has been slowly revamping their tool selection, adding new brands. The latest additions to their roster include Klein Tools, Flex, Skil, EGO, Pony, Jorgensen, and ToughBuilt.

I am truly excited about this. To me, it seems that Lowe’s is working hard on things behind the scenes to build up their tool selection.

Years ago, Sears did this too, and it earned them a lot of my business. That Lowe’s is building up their brand selection is perhaps less important today than a decade ago, but there’s huge potential here.

Walmart tried to create a curated tool store with an online “Pro” experience, and it turned out to be a massive disappointment. Lowe’s can learn from Walmart’s mistakes.

They have exciting brands, new innovations, and growing partnerships. If all of this is well-managed, Lowe’s will reel in customers.

Bosch AmpShare Battery Platform USA Launch Hero

Bosch and its partners are bringing AmpShare to the USA, but it’s not clear if these products will be available at Lowe’s or how visible they might be.

Flex launched a new line of cordless power tools at Lowe’s, but so far I haven’t seen Lowe’s promote it very much.

The same with Metabo HPT. Theirs is a fantastic cordless power tool platform, and I cannot help but feel that it’d enjoy greater market share if Lowe’s puts a little more effort into its promotion.

One thing I have learned over the years is that a product’s success isn’t so much about how good it is, but how good a brand or retailer can convince you it is. The most successful products are the ones that deserve all of they hype they’re given. Those that don’t deserve the hype will usually disappear after a holiday shopping season.

Lowe’s needs to give their exclusive brands the attention and hype they deserve.

I have seen great tools flop on the sales floor at Lowe’s, or in their online product catalog, because the tools are left to sell themselves.

Lowe’s is putting effort into their tool department, but they haven’t been drawing any interest or attention to this. Why not?

I would say that Lowe’s is overall doing a decent job – I’d describe myself as an occasional customer – but I think they can do better with respect to selling me tools. I think they should borrow a couple of strategies from Home Depot’s playbook.

How do you feel about Lowe’s today?

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