Lowe’s e-commerce makeover came just in time for new home projects

  • According to Lowe’s CEO Marvin Ellison, the company has invested extensively in e-commerce since he took the helm in 2018.
  • That e-commerce overhaul — which saw the company prioritize its new store app and a shift to the cloud — couldn’t have happened at a better time.
  • The coronavirus pandemic has seen consumers rely heavily on online shopping, as many look to complete projects around their homes.
  • Ellison and Lowe’s CFO David Denton spoke Wednesday at the annual Goldman Sachs Global Retailing Virtual Conference.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Lowe’s’ long-awaited e-commerce revamp came at just the right time for the company to reap the rewards of the surge in home improvement spending during the coronavirus pandemic, according to CEO Marvin Ellison.

Upon taking the helm of the home-improvement retailer in 2018, Ellison said that he found the company lacked a “robust and dynamic e-commerce platform.” Since taking on the role of CEO at the company, Ellison has been outspoken about improving Lowe’s online capabilities, specifically Lowes.com.

“It was very obvious that the fundamental things that world-class retailers do very well were absent here,” he said on Wednesday during Goldman Sachs’ annual Global Retailing Virtual Conference  — citing the state of Lowe’s e-commerce business in 2018.

Ellison told analysts that the company specifically was missing “an efficient supply chain, a robust and dynamic e-commerce platform, and having good operational mechanisms to manage labor effectively based on rate of sale.”

“I was surprised how inefficient our e-commerce platform was and how it did not drive traffic or connect with the physical stores,” Ellison said.

The CEO added that shifting the “decade-old” e-commerce platform to the cloud has been a top priority for the company. And the investments paid off just in time, as the coronavirus pandemic has sent home-improvement sales soaring. 

“Because of that, we were able to meet this increased demand,” Ellison said.

Customers have made much use of Lowe’s in-store app, curbside pickup options, and other omnichannel offerings.

In the company’s August earnings, Ellison and CFO David Denton — also in attendance at the investor conference — reported that Lowes.com saw a sales spike of 135% in online sales year-over-year along with a “higher than expected” rate of downloads of the store’s mobile app.

“We continue to prioritize investments in our omnichannel capabilities as our customers continue to shop more online,” Denton said during the Goldman Sachs conference. “We’ve leaned in to push on e-commerce, and we’re pushing in the supply chain to make sure that we can adequately support from a service perspective that channel more robustly and completely across the nation.”

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