Lowes deploys 42,000 iPhones as mobile holiday shopping booms

“When it comes to holiday shopping, more people are phoning it in, forcing retailers to embrace new ways to connect or else lose sales,” Alistair Barr reports for Reuters. “Lowe’s Companies, Best Buy and Toys R Us are among retailers making big changes to prepare for a wave of holiday shoppers who will use smart phones to research products, check rivals’ prices and make purchases.”

“Lowe’s is issuing more than 42,000 Apple iPhones to employees in more than 1,700 stores,” Barr reports. “When shoppers are in Lowes stores scanning bar codes with their phones, reading product reviews and checking prices, employees can engage them better using iPhones to track down similar information. Staff can also check quickly if products are in stock or if items are available on Lowes’ website or another store nearby, and can often match or beat a price a consumer finds elsewhere via a smart phone.”

Barr reports, “More than 40 percent of retailers this year have a policy of at least competing with lower online prices found through mobile comparisons. Ahead of last year’s holiday season, most retailers were still in denial about this trend, according to research firm RSR.”

Read more in the full article here.

6 Comments

  1. That’s quite a few iPhones, indeed. What would be interesting to see is what the halo effect would be on the employees using those iPhones at work. Would they be swayed enough to buy personal iPhones for themselves and maybe even enter into the Apple fold for other devices.

  2. I’m still curious why Lowe’s opted to go with the iPhone instead of iPod touches and/or iPads. Seems like they would want lower prices for each device and avoid telco lock-in/subscription and simply set up a wi-fi connection like Apple retail.

  3. One obvious answer is that Lowe’s absolutely wanted an available Internet connection when the staffer was in the middle of a transaction. WiFi connectivity can be unpredictable. To a certain extent, so can 3G/Edge, but at least Lowe’s has a fallback option.

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