Lowe's opens two Manhattan stores; releases customer service robots

Home improvement retailer Lowe's (NYSE:LOW) has announced it will open two stores in Manhattan in the second half of 2015. In addition, the retailer is introducing retail service robots in an Orchard Supply Hardware store in San Jose, California.

To accommodate shoppers living in a dense, urban market, the Manhattan stores will be constructed in a smaller format than traditional Lowe's stores.

"We are excited to expand our presence to Manhattan and we look forward to offering Lowe's project expertise and tailored product selection in two convenient locations," said Richard Maltsbarger, Lowe's chief development officer.  "We know customers in Manhattan are already shopping with Lowe's online and at our New York area stores. Based on our research, we are developing these locations to meet the unique needs of these customers."

One store will be located at 2008 Broadway at West 68th Street and the other store at 635 6th Avenue at West 19th Street. Both stores will be about 30,000 sq. ft. and offer everything from appliances and home organization to storage products and accessories. What can't be kept in stock due to inventory space can be shipped from Lowe's New York area stores.

On the other coast, Lowe's Innovation Labs will introduce two autonomous retail service robots, known as OSHbot, in a San Jose, California, Orchard Supply Hardware store. The goal is to study how robotics technology can help customers and employees.

The robots will assist customers in navigating stores by directing them to products and providing real-time information about promotions and inventory. In a few months, OSHbot will also be able to communicate with customers via multiple languages and remotely connect with expert employees at other Orchard stores.

"Using science fiction prototyping, we explored solutions to improve customer experiences by helping customers quickly find the products and information they came in looking for," said Kyle Nel, executive director of Lowe's Innovation Labs. "As a result we developed autonomous retail service robot technology to be an intuitive tool customers can use to ask for help, in their preferred language, and expect a consistent experience."

Over the summer, Lowe's Innovation Labs released Holoroom, which uses augmented reality to show customers what a room might look like after a completed home renovation project.

For more:
-See this Lowe's press release
-See this Lowe's press release

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