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Lowe's deploying 42k iPhone-based POS systems in retail overhaul

post #1 of 37
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Home-improvement retailer Lowe's plans to outfit employees with 42,000 iPhone 4s next month, with custom apps that will make use of the device as a point-of-sale system as part of a technology heavy retail overhaul.

The Mooresville, North Carolina, big box retailer will introduce a new MyLowes online tool and implement the iPhones in an effort to catch rival Home Depot, which invested more than $60 million on handheld Motorola POS system last year, Bloomberg reports.

Lowe's decined to say how much the iPhone rollout will cost, though it has said its overall capital spending will increase by 20 percent to $1.6 billion this year. In addition to the new POS devices, the company will replace 72,000 computer screens with flat panels, increase bandwidth for transmitting data and add in-store Wi-Fi for shoppers, the report noted.

The overhaul goes beyond Lowe's rivalry with Home Depot, as the company is working to update consumer perceptions about its brand. Forget about the competition, we are playing catch-up with the customer psyche, Chief Information Officer Mike Brown said in an interview.

The new MyLowes tool aims to help customers "organize their homes." For example, it will allow customers to store paint details, receipts, appliance manuals and service warranties online.

A Lowe's store manager demos the retailer's new iPhone-based POS system | Credit: Chris Keane/Bloomberg

Apple's smartphones will provide a long overdue upgrade to the retailer's POS systems, which currently use scanner guns from the early 1990s. Lowe's has more than 1,700 stores, with each one expected to receive an allotment of 25 iPhones. In addition to their role as POS systems, the handsets will be used for calling, emailing, text messaging and to help answer shoppers' questions.

Analysts said Lowe's faces fierce competition, as Home Depot is executing at a "much higher level." Credit Suisse Group analyst Gary Balter said "Lowes will likely continue to trail Home Depot comps going forward.

Apple itself switched from Windows EasyPay systems to an iPod touch solution in 2009. The company's EasyPay app was developed with the requirement that it be fast, secure and sexy, according to the consultant who worked with Apple to create the software.



Shortly after Apple began using the iPod touch with a custom-built scanner shell, it was "deluged" with inquiries from other retailers. Late last year, AppleInsider reported that several major retailers were considering an iOS-based mobile retail system.
post #2 of 37
Why iPhones and not iPod Touches? Do they really need the cellular capability within their stores over dedicated and secured WiFi?
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post #3 of 37
That is a nice order fie Apple! I bet being a walled garden system helped them chose Apple.
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post #4 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Why iPhones and not iPod Touches? Do they really need the cellular capability within their stores over dedicated and secured WiFi?

I'd hoped they'd be iPads with nice guides to finding things, more than just POS, for at least some staff.
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post #5 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Why iPhones and not iPod Touches? Do they really need the cellular capability within their stores over dedicated and secured WiFi?

I believe their existing systems are cell-based. They probably have a deal with someone.

Certainly salespeople in each dept have company cellphones.
post #6 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

I'd hoped they'd be iPads with nice guides to finding things, more than just POS, for at least some staff.

Having the GPS chip would be nice. The store clerk could type in an item or category and have a dotted line map repeatedly show the customer where he needs to go.
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post #7 of 37
Why not Android. You know, its all open 'n' stuff. Not dictated by the evil Apple over lord and all that jazz.

Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Why iPhones and not iPod Touches? Do they really need the cellular capability within their stores over dedicated and secured WiFi?
post #8 of 37
For a big box store like Lowe's, an Apple designed and custom tailored POS system seems like it would be a much cleaner and more simplified solution. The Android POS solutions I've seen are more often used in the food industry, both restaurants and suppliers, and smaller retailers.
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post #9 of 37
Beware wandering customers posing as Lowe's employees carrying around their Square-enabled iPhone 4.

Oops!

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post #10 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Beware wandering customers posing as Lowe's employees carrying around their Square-enabled iPhone 4.

Oops!

oh. . . Good point!
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post #11 of 37
"Can those Angry Birds help me find a washer for my leaky pipe?"
post #12 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

Why not Android. You know, its all open 'n' stuff. Not dictated by the evil Apple over lord and all that jazz.

Or those 9.7" HP TouchPads, or 7" RiM PlayBooks, or 5" Dell Streaks. I bet all of them could have been had for a lot less than retail.
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post #13 of 37
I about fell out of my chair when I read the headline "iPhone based POS Systems"
post #14 of 37
Perhaps they figure the money they saved still would have been a waste of money.

Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Or those 9.7" HP TouchPads, or 7" RiM PlayBooks, or 5" Dell Streaks. I bet all of them could have been had for a lot less than retail.
post #15 of 37
I look forward to seeing those in use in the stores. Curious that they didn't just stick to iPod touch. WiFi only should be sufficient to do anything you'd need to do within a store. iPads may also be a device to consider - would come in handy to show customers build options like kitchens & baths.
post #16 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by msimpson View Post

"Can those Angry Birds help me find a washer for my leaky pipe?"

Actually - that would be a great idea!! Lowes should get them to make an app like that!
post #17 of 37
You need a proof reader. Paragraphs 2 & 3 have 4 errors and there is another further down.

Quote:
The Mooresville, North Carolina, big box retailer will introduce a news MyLowes online tool and implement the new iPhones in an effort to catch rival Home Depot, which invested more than $60 million on handheld Motorola POS system last year, Bloomberg reports.

Lowe's decined to say how much the iPhone rollout will cost, though it bass aid its overall capital spending will increase by 20 percent to $1.6 billion this year. In addition to the new POS devices, the company will replace 72,000 computer screens with flat panels, increase bandwidth for transmitting data and add in-store Wi-Fi for shoppers, the report noted.
post #18 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

For a big box store like Lowe's, an Apple designed and custom tailored POS system seems like it would be a much cleaner and more simplified solution. The Android POS solutions I've seen are more often used in the food industry, both restaurants and suppliers, and smaller retailers.

This really is great news for Apple winning with Lowes, but I also wish Apple was acting as an integrator in some capacity. They have the know-how to make it work cleanly.

In a bigger concept, the push for retailers to abandon the cash-wrap stations in favor for pushing staff towards the customer and the merchandise is so refreshing. It really creates an opportunity for sales people to be much more than sales clerks, and could even push away from the self-serve mentality that has overwhelmed us over the past 20 years.

Hopefully Lowes keeps it moving by adding in other devices (hopefully iPad rather than Android handsets for my stock price) to further refine the experience.
post #19 of 37
Gotta love the retail geniuses chiming in with knee jerk criticism of an implementation they know absolutely nothing about.
post #20 of 37
Awesome. Another reason for me to never touch Home Depot and deal with their substandard wood materials and so much more.
post #21 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmmx View Post

You need a proof reader. Paragraphs 2 & 3 have 4 errors and there is another further down.

Every day there are multiple typos. This is an ongoing chronic problem with AI.
post #22 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

That is a nice order fie Apple! I bet being a walled garden system helped them chose Apple.

...But the Lowes employees won't be able to view Flash sites or Flash ad banners which are the cornerstone of the internet. MU-Haaahahaha. Mark that up as a plus.
post #23 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Why iPhones and not iPod Touches? Do they really need the cellular capability within their stores over dedicated and secured WiFi?

They might be using them for when customers call in. A routing system asks what department and forwards to the appropriate iPhone. The employee can walk and talk and avoid keeping folks on hold while running to a shelf and then back

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post #24 of 37
Apple's come a long way since my Fat Mac, PageMaker and LaserWriter.

post #25 of 37
An iPhone will fit into their vest pockets better than an iPad!
post #26 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by ebergh View Post

An iPhone will fit into their vest pockets better than an iPad!

Oh come, on overalls have big pockets
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post #27 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

Why not Android. You know, its all open 'n' stuff. Not dictated by the evil Apple over lord and all that jazz.

or Samsung Note? It has stylus you know. You can have customers draw what they'd like to buy. Stupid Lowe.
post #28 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by mytdave View Post

I look forward to seeing those in use in the stores. Curious that they didn't just stick to iPod touch. WiFi only should be sufficient to do anything you'd need to do within a store. iPads may also be a device to consider - would come in handy to show customers build options like kitchens & baths.

I guess their WIFI sucks.
post #29 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Why iPhones and not iPod Touches? Do they really need the cellular capability within their stores over dedicated and secured WiFi?

So they can call the manager, Front desk, other stores, etc.
post #30 of 37
That stuffs in the picture at the bottom look cool but bulky don't you think? What is it?
post #31 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Why iPhones and not iPod Touches? Do they really need the cellular capability within their stores over dedicated and secured WiFi?

If Lowes wants to compete with Home Depot, their employees need to be able to call a central number connected to a really loud, obnoxious, poor-quality, store-wide paging system...
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post #32 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmmx View Post

You need a proof reader. Paragraphs 2 & 3 have 4 errors and there is another further down.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maguro View Post

Every day there are multiple typos. This is an ongoing chronic problem with AI.

The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all your Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it
-- Omar Khayyam
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post #33 of 37
This should be a good start.

There are several other parts to this Point Of Sale system to complete the picture and enable the customer.

1) Paperless transaction: checkout, payment and receipt -- bump your iPhone with the POST.

2) Online pre-shopping: select items, store map, itinerary

3) Online shopping and delivery

The savvy retailer must keep in mind that, while improving convenience is important -- shopping is a social activity.
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post #34 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maguro View Post

Every day there are multiple typos. This is an ongoing chronic problem with AI.

As the saying goes, "People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones>"
post #35 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

Why not Android. You know, its all open 'n' stuff. Not dictated by the evil Apple over lord and all that jazz.

he has left apple. which i think is great news for Enterprise.
post #36 of 37

Way to go! I hope the Apple retail experience can expand into more spaces. They have a great customer experience.


Edited by macapptraining - 4/15/13 at 9:56am
post #37 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

If Lowes wants to compete with Home Depot, their employees need to be able to call a central number connected to a really loud, obnoxious, poor-quality, store-wide paging system...

They also need to be able to summon beeping forklifts trying to run you down and be able to arrange to have aisles closed just ahead of where you're trying to go.

But for sure: really obnoxious, poor-quality, store-wide paging systems are the backbone of the operation, especially if you can keep them coming every 10 seconds or so and make sure the person with the most nasal, piercing, ear stabbing voice is manning the mic.
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