Lowe's has joined the march to in-store mobility with its deployment of approximately 42,000 handheld devices to its U.S. and Canadian stores. The home improvement retailer has begun the rollout to its 1,700-plus stores and expects it to be complete by the end of fiscal 2011, at the end of January 2012.
"Our goal is to make home improvement simple for customers and for our employees," said Lowe's CEO Robert Niblock during a recent conference call. "Leveraging Apple's iPhone technology, our employees will check inventory availability, access how-to videos and utilize lowes.com from the aisles of the store."
Home Depot, Lowe's key competitor in the home improvement category, made a splash with the fall 2010 chainwide deployment of 30,000 First Phone mobile devices. These devices operate as mobile POS devices along with inventory lookup, phone and walkie-talkie functionalities.
Since then, Nordstrom has deployed 6,000 mobile POS devices to its stores, and Urban Outfitters began a phased rollout of mobile POS, with plans for the handheld units to be in all its stores by this year's holiday season.
Lowe's, which operates 1,725 stores in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, is not ruling out expanded roles for the devices. The deployment is "a significant step towards simplicity and seamlessness and we will continue to add functionality to these devices over time," said Niblock.
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