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02/05/2018

Home improvement retailer launches VR-based training

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Lowe’s is expanding its commitment to virtual reality — this time, internally.

Tapping the VR and AR expertise of its Lowe’s Innovation Labs division, the home improvement giant has launched a new VR-based training program. Called Holoroom How To: Red Vest, the platform is designed to teach associates how to use specific in-store equipment through virtual reality.

The program was designed on the success of Holoroom How To, an experience that gave customers confidence to begin their next home improvement project. This next phase of virtual learning gives employees the knowledge they need to help better serve customers, according to a blog entry on the company’s website.

The program, which is focused on the window department, delivers greater project knowledge, which provides more motivation and increased confidence to help address customer’s window fashion needs. The platform projects a life-like simulation that teaches associates every step of the process as they advance through the module. Associates learn from potential mistakes without waste of materials or dissatisfied customers, the blog explained.

The program launched in November 2017, in 10 markets nationwide, including Tampa, Philadelphia and Knoxville. More than 400 associates have tested the experience, and more than 90% have reported virtual reality training would help them to better serve our customers, according to Lowe’s.

“We’ve done more work in AR and VR than pretty much any other retailer,” Josh Shabtai, director, labs productions and operations, Lowe’s, said in the blog’s video. “One thing we learned is that VR is amazing for education. We’re using the power of VR to train employees and make what could be a cumbersome process more fun.”

Other processes that are improving the productivity of the workforce includes the company’s “LoweBot.” Resembling a kiosk on wheels, this sleek robot can take over inventory management processes to free up associates to spend more time with customers. It can also help pinpoint available merchandise — and escort customers to the correct aisle.

Lowe’s is also using a soft robotics-based exosuit that can assist associates with the physical demands of their job — and perform tasks more safely, such as reducing fatigue of repetitive motions.