Lowe’s Cos. is making a big commitment to its “pros” (professional customers).
The home improvement giant is opening its first Pro Fulfillment Center dedicated to serving pros. This specialized customer category includes a variety of businesses such as builders, remodelers, landscapers, plumbers, and electricians. The 200,000-sq.-ft. center is based in Charlotte, N.C., and currently serves pro customers in the greater Charlotte area.
The Pro Fulfillment Center offers Charlotte area pros next-day delivery of the products they use most in the quantities they normally purchase. Key features include online tracking of orders, which are available through box or flatbed truck. Assortment consists of more than 1,000 select products, including lumber, building materials, roofing, sheetrock, shingles, insulation, windows/doors, and big and bulky items with their key attachments.
The facility is built to be zero-emission, with such features as battery-powered forklifts. Lowe’s will use it to test, learn and evolve its approach to provide an omnichannel experience tailored for pro customers. The center employs 40 people.
Lowe’s targets professional customers
According to Lowe’s it considers the Pro Fulfillment Center as a pilot which serves as next step in its “Total Home” strategy to serve and attract pro customers, who the retailer says shop at a higher frequency and value speed and convenience.
In February 2022, Lowe’s launched a new loyalty offering called the Lowe's MVPs Pro Rewards and Partnership Program. Benefits include exclusive prizes, offers and rewards; a streamlined mobile and online user experience allowing professionals to track and claim rewards; and access to business resources.
In April 2021, the retailer rolled out an in-store shopping experience created specifically for pro customers. Lowe’s said its updated pro customer experience is designed for speed and convenience, saving pros time and money.
The company has noted the pro customer shops at Lowe's “significantly more” often than regular customers. Also, the pro product market is more than $400 billion and is expected to grow faster than the overall U.S. home improvement market in the coming years. The updated shopping experience includes a wide array of new offerings, starting with a dedicated area, called The Pro Zone, for grab-and-go products that include popular pro items, new products and value packs. The department is located at the pro entrance.
In addition, Lowe's has been deploying new technology to help employees improve their relationship with Pro customers. A tool introduced last year provides insights that helps employees engage with Pros “unlike ever before and ultimately help them grow their businesses,” the company said.
These initiatives build on other efforts by Lowe’s to enhance its Pro offerings. In 2020, the retailer launched its Lowe's For Pros Loyalty program, continued employee training to help with specific Pro needs, announced new services such as Lowe's tool rental, and redesigned the layout of stores to better serve Pro customers.
Based in Mooresville, N.C., Lowe's and its related businesses operate or service more than 2,200 home improvement and hardware stores.