It started as the distribution channel for homeowner kitchenwares. The company offered its customers with low prices since it directly worked with manufacturers. Lowe’s Company went public in 1961 and by 1982, the company was serving a new market segment, do-it-yourself (DIY) with over
$ 1 billion in sales. The company continued to expand and by 2008, the company was serving 14 million customers per week with a total turnover of $ 48.2 billion (Sawhney, 2).
The company provided customer-value solutions with affordable prices, wide range of kitchen products and services that made it the first option for home improvement customers. The home improvement market in the United States experienced an upward trend in the mid-2000s. However, the recession of 2008 also affected this market. Customers buying trends changed drastically whereby most kitchen remodeling projects were done by professionals. The then DIY projects were undertaken by people with low-incomes and this trend affected the company’s profitability (Sawhney, 2).
In a move to remain top-in-mind of customers, the Lowe’s Company introduced a new product in the kitchen remodeling market the next generation installed sale (NGIS) project. However, the company faced a stiff competition from Home Deport, Menards, and IKEA, which were leading retailers in the home improvement market. It also had to fight Sears Company that was leading in the home improvement repair network (Sawhney, 3).
The NGIS which targeted do-it-for-me (DIFM) customers were an initiative for Lowe’s Company to offer installed sales to its customers. The program represented 6 to 8 percent of the company’s total revenue in 2008. However, the project encountered limited interaction with customers during the purchase process since Lowe’s Company assumed that customers knew what they wanted. Therefore, post-completion contact was limited to addressing installation issues of the customers (Sawhney, 4).
The post-completion customer limitation with the new NGIS and the competitive move by Home Deport to target aggressively the installed sales market prompted Lowe’s senior management team, led by Brad Simpson to adopt marketing program for the NGIS. The company went beyond providing installation services. The company’s new marketing program coordinated the project from initiation to post-completion. It also involved contracting
third-party and subcontractors who would be trained by Lowe’s Company as well as certify and guarantee their work to its customers (Sawhney, 4).
On the other hand, NGIS offered unique marketing challenges for Lowe’s Company despite employing kitchen project managers (KPM) to each of its NGIS pilot stores
(Sawhney, 5). This was because the company previously did not concern itself with the needs of customers in the initial stages of the buying process. With these challenges, Brad Simpson adopted another method in which the marketing campaign tailored products to the customer experience at each stage of the buying cycle. He quickly initiated customer survey as well as customer experience mapping both of which revealed the appropriated marketing communications channels for the company’s products (Sawhney, 6).
The results of the survey and experience mapping resulted to adopting a marketing campaigning mix that optimized both the traditional such as print and televised ads, post-modern channels of communication such as the internet. This mix was aimed to reach the company’s customers especially in the early stages of the purchase cycle. However, the challenge was to integrate traditional and digital marketing in an appropriate mix considering various costs involved (Sawhney, 8).
In conclusion, the advent of the World Wide Web as well as the pervasive use of the internet by people makes it essential for the Lowe’s Company to integrate optimally both the traditional and the digital communication channels in order to reach many potential customers across the globe. This move will widen the market as well as capture customer experience through increasing product feature display and persuasive graphics utilized during campaigning (Sawhney, 14).