You’d think the competition between big box home improvement retailers would be pretty evenly matched. After all, there aren’t a lot of differences between Lowe’s and Home Depot – right?
Actually, if you dig a little deeper, you’ll find that both companies are constantly trying to one-up each other and provide a better customer experience. And lately, it seems like one might just be doing a better job than the other in the area of innovation.
I decided to dig a little deeper to find out, why Lowe’s may be more innovative than Home Depot.
Making the Most Out of Technology in Building Materials
If there’s one area in which Lowe’s seems to be clearly outpacing Home Depot, it’s in the way the they embrace technology – and specifically, mobile technology.
Lowe’s has created one of the more useful iPhone apps on the market. They know there’s nothing more frustrating than driving down to the big box store, only to find out they don’t have what you need – so their app lets you check inventory before you leave.
Also, one of the biggest pitfalls at most big building materials stores is asking employees for help. You’re taking your chances every time; you might get an expert who will knock your socks off, but you’re equally likely to get somebody who knows just enough to get you in trouble.
With their app, you don’t have to rely on their expertise alone anymore. They have iPhones as well, giving them access to a vast database of knowledge for answering any question you might have. (Employees probably enjoy not being expected to know everything all the time, as well.)
Using Social Media Effectively
Most businesses nowadays have a Facebook page and a Twitter handle. Of course just because they have them doesn’t mean they know what to do with them. Indeed, many of those businesses provide little to no value with their social media presence.
Lowe’s is different. They use social media to help their customers deal with the most common home improvement complaints they might have, as well as teaching them how to safely and effectively handle their own repairs and upgrades.
For example, their Vine videos show you how to solve many problems in just 6 seconds. Not only is that incredibly helpful, but it also helps build customer loyalty.
They are active and engaging on all social media outlets, from Pinterest to Youtube. If you tweet a question at them, a real person will respond (this may seem basic, but it’s amazing how rare it is).
Whereas other companies just maintain a social media presence because it’s expected of them, Lowe’s actually makes theirs valuable.
Becoming Part of Their Customers’ Lives
All of these strategies add up to one central goal: integrating the Lowe’s brand into their customers’ daily lives.
The more helpful a company is, the more likely customers will turn to them again and again. That fosters loyalty, and creates repeat customers. That’s why the Youtube videos and iPhone app have such incredible returns.
They’re not about simply giving customers the products they need. They’re about helping customers achieve their goals – whether that means cutting down the time they spend shopping, saving them money, or teaching them how to complete projects.
The sense of accomplishment that the customers get out of this is infectious, and they’ll tell their friends. After all, in just about any business, you’re not selling a product – you’re selling someone a better version of themselves.
Don’t think that just because I’m praising Lowe’s that Home Depot isn’t also innovating, they are just taking a different path. If you are going to succeed with big boxes, you need to understand their differences and tailor your approach to help them be more successful because they sell your products.
For more ideas on to succeed with big boxes click here.
How to Apply Lowe’s Innovations as a Building Materials Manufacturer.
If you’d like to harness Lowe’s creativity for your own business, but you’re not sure how to proceed, contact us today for your personalized roadmap. We can also help you develop a more powerful line review. We’ll help your business get to where you want it to be.