Home improvement giant to connect with shoppers through Apple’s text app

Lowe’s Cos. is putting a spin on how its shoppers will connect with its customer service agents.

The home improvement retailer is partnering with Apple for its launch of Business Chat, a feature that will allow consumers to talk to service agents through Apple’s Message app. Customers can use the solution to ask questions, resolve issues, and complete transactions via their iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch, according to Apple.

Rather than call a customer service number, users will be able to “text” Lowe’s with a dedicated number and have a text-based conversation with a customer service representative. Responding agents can share links to merchandise information, help schedule appointments or deliveries, and enable users to make purchases using Apple Pay.

All interactions happen directly in the Messages app without having to visit another app or web site, according to Apple.

Lowe’s was attracted to the chat-based service as a means of engaging an increasingly digitally savvy customer base. “Serving customers now requires us to be more connected than ever before,” said Gihad Jawhar, VP of digital at Lowe’s. “Our people, systems, processes and efforts must be connected – and they must be in line to create an omnichannel environment that is simple and seamless for everyone.”

Business Chat is also another way for Lowe’s to remove friction across its omnichannel experience.

“We will drive customer engagement by delivering convenience, inspiration, expertise and efficiency across the most relevant moments of the customer's project journey,” Jawhar added.

Lowe’s will begin offering Business Chat when Apple launches a beta test of the service this spring. Other companies participating in the test include Discover, Hilton, and Wells Fargo, Apple said.