Lowe's launches new AR-powered in-store navigation

With Innovation Labs, Lowe's aims to create technologies that directly help customers solve everyday problems.

Lowe's announced the launch of its new in-store navigation app, Lowe's Vision, the first retail application of indoor mapping that uses augmented reality. With the help of Google's Tango technology, the app is designed to improve the shopping experience, using a Tango-enabled smartphone to search for products, add them to a shopping list and located them within the store.

The app will be available in April for customers in stores in Sunnyvale, California, and Lynwood, Washington. Customers without a Tango-enabled device are able to borrow a Phab 2 and demo the in-store navigation experience with a Lowe's associate.

The augmented reality-powered app is the latest advancement from Lowe's Innovation Labs, the company's innovation hub. The announcement comes just weeks after the home improvement store launched another technology innovation, an immersive virtual reality experience that allows customers to learn the skills needed for DIY projects.

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"Our research shows that helping make it easier for customers to find products in stores not only makes for a better shopping experience, it allows our associates to spend more time advising on home improvement projects," said Kyle Nel, executive director of Lowe's Innovation Labs. "With Lowe's Vision: In-Store Navigation, we've created a more seamless experience using breakthrough technology so customers can save time shopping and focus more on their project." 

Lowe's first partnered with Tango to launch Lowe's Vision, an app that acts as a digital power tool. The technology enables the user to measure spaces and visualize how products will look in their home. This latest unveiling is another significant development in Lowe's portfolio of augmented reality offerings that are aimed at meeting the growing needs of the evolving customer.

Lowe's aims to create technologies that directly help customers to solve everyday problems.

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"Our experiences have shown that customers are embracing AR/VR as part of their home improvement journey. By creating a more seamless shopping experience with augmented reality, our customers are able to find what they need to complete their DIY projects more quickly. Additionally, this frees up the time of our store associates, so that they can advise customers on home improvement projects," Nel told FierceRetail. 

Nel said that the Innovation Labs uses a narrative-driven approach to innovation that uses story as a strategic tool to map out the future of what the Labs can bring to life for Lowe's. 

"We then work backward to build that future, rapidly testing technology prototypes to solve everyday problems. We also use applied neuroscience to evaluate customer response to new technologies. We ask ourselves, how does this technology make our customers feel? Engaged? Overwhelmed? More confidant? From there, we build solutions that not only help our customers directly, but also disrupt and improve retail practices," he added.