Lowe’s equips employees with 42,000 Apple iPhones

“Lowe’s Cos. is enhancing its website and equipping store employees with iPhones as the second-largest U.S. home-improvement retailer seeks to catch up to Home Depot Inc. (HD) and boost sales from its existing locations,” Chris Burritt reports for Bloomberg.

“Next month, Lowe’s will introduce its MyLowes online tool that customers will be able to use to store owner’s manuals, warranties and paint formulas, Chief Information Officer Mike Brown said in an interview,” Burritt reports. “The Mooresville, North Carolina- based company is arming workers with 42,000 iPhone 4s to answer shoppers’ questions and ring up purchases.”

Burritt reports, “The company is working to catch larger Home Depot, which gave employees Motorola Inc. handheld devices last year to let them spend more time helping customers and less on behind-the- scene duties.”

MacDailyNews Take: Motorola? Pfft. Lowe’s has done more than “catch up,” they’ve whipped right past Home Depot by choosing The King of All Smartphones.

Burritt reports, “Lowe’s is replacing 72,000 computer screens with flat panels in more than 1,700 stores, increasing bandwidth for transmitting data and adding Wifi for shoppers’ smartphones, Brown said. It’s adding thousands of items for sale online and last month introduced a Spanish-language version of lowes.com and an app for the iPhone and the iPod touch.”

“The Apple Inc. iPhones replace scanner guns based on technology dating back to the early 1990s,” Burritt reports. “Each store is getting about 25 of the devices which eventually will be enabled for mobile calling, e-emailing and text-messaging as well as processing credit and debit card purchases, said Brown, who has been with Lowe’s for 26 years.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Don E.” for the heads up.]

Related article:
Apple seen pushing into new markets as patent app reveals more about portable point-of-sale system – September 8, 2011


    1. I’m sure he meant iPhone 4s. Why not? For how they’re going to be used, they should be more than sufficient. iPhone 4s have been proven reliable and they’re in abundance. They won’t need a faster processor because they’re not going to be used for games or intense graphics.

    2. Exactly what everyone else said: because they’re cheaper right before a refresh, their dependability has already been proven, and most kinks have already been worked out or are at least well publicized. School districts do this all the time with computer labs.

  1. I have worked at Lowe’s my self, and have always thought they have brought the customer experience to customer’s better then HD. Now that they are introducing the iPhone into the mix regardless of what version I can see them in the future surpassing HD and showing the rest of the “Home Improvement” industry how to do things.

    1. Given the disinterest of our local Lowe’s staff to help customers, anything that can be done to enable the shopper to help themselves will be most welcome. Otherwise, we’ll keep going to the Home Depot where they seem to appreciate the customers who walk into the store.

    1. Good point. I thought the same thing. Maybe they don’t use VoIP, which many retailers have for their phone systems. Can’t imagine it being too costly in switching to VoIP. I work retail and really wish my co. would make this kind of adaptation.

    2. A iPad would be too large for an employee to carry around the store all day, having to set down to lift items off of shelves, etc. The scanner and credit card processor is probably not available for the iPad, where it is for the iPhone.

      They may need a phone connection to swipe a credit card, but also a phone connection is more useful for text messaging, phone calls, etc. than using other apps. It’s simply easier to use the iPhone’s built-in capabilities than to try to keep other apps running, logins correct, and apps updated. Plus, it’s easier to monitor employees’ use of the iPhone when all the calls, texts, etc are listed on the company’s phone bill.

      1. not sure about the scanner, they may just use the camera. RedLaser barcode scanner etc. (which IS the best of those type utilities)
        the CC processor we already know is out there. Maybe not a Shell type like the iPhone/iPod has, but they do have those Dongles.

        I am kinda curious why they didn’t go iPod touch though. I read the “phone calls, texts etc” but… If they have WiFi in the stores… the iPod can do that with apps. Maybe not the greatest for a “phone” call.

        I wonder if they will be able to make calls.. may be restricted store numbers etc. and only a Customer number via a Link from E-mail etc. (no direct Keypad access to enter a number)

        Great that they are doing this, but I do see some “issues” that may come up eventually.

        But the iPad is a definite bad idea at a Home improvement store.. At least the iPhone is small enough to fit in a pocket, or the apron pouch.

  2. HO-LY SH!T!!! If that doesn’t prove that the iPhone is a business device and not a toy, then I don’t know what will. 42,000 units is probably more than a whole production run of many Android smartphones. First they’ll use iPhones and then they’ll start adding iPads and Windows PCs will be nowhere’s to be seen.

  3. Just came back from Lowe’s in Central Jersey and one of the employees was showing this iPhone to another. It looked like it was enclosed in a rugged heavy duty dark blue case,

  4. I use both stores professionally in my work. I prefer the blue box over the orange one for customer service and their variety of SKU’s. That they are embracing Apple only reenforces my loyalty. I can see self checkout with your own phone in the future, which could be the next wave of POS. Go Lowe’s!

  5. I primarily shop McLendons, which is one of the few “hardware” stores actually left.

    Lowes and HD are not hardware stores, they are “home improvement centers” and its a big difference although between the two Lowe’s seems to stock oddball fasteners and more traditional hardware store items vs. HD.

  6. Well perhaps Home Depot won’t be far behind… after all, no-one in their right mind would expect those Motorola devices to last longer than a year…

    Employees may even be accidentally dropping them more often now too.. 😉

  7. This is going to get me to bite the bullet and get their consumer credit card which gives you 5% off every purchase. Will save me big bucks on my renovation. Just have to make sure you pay it off every month…

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