My Lowe’s Dream Application

As a recovering developer no longer working in the commercial marketing field, I can now freely share my “dream application” ideas for different brands 🙂

Any homeowner knows there are always plenty of projects on the go. As a soon-to-be landlord, I also have the joy of mentally trying to categorize projects as “repair” vs “improvement” for tax purposes. So every receipt, indeed, every item purchased, needs to be stored and tracked. Wow, I thought, it would be great to have a place to store all the information about my purchase and their purpose.

I know that right now Lowe’s doesn’t have a customer loyalty card. Well imagine, if you will, if they did..


When I make a purchase at Lowe’s with my loyalty card, the items on the receipt are saved to my online account. I can go online to access these itemized receipts. I can create tags to assign to each item. These tags could be related to projects, activity, or whatever else I wish: “livingroom”, “paint”. As a bonus, clicking on a tag would show you all the products assigned to that tag, date purchased, individual cost, and total price paid for all items.

Let’s say I only do a painting project every few years. I can use the tags to see what I’ve purchased in the past. Oh, I already have trays and dropcloths, but I only purchased one brush. I should probably pick up another one!

Let’s say you manage to secure a spot on HGTV’s “My House is Worth What?” and they ask you what you paid on your living room remodel. You could just pull up your handy Lowe’s dream app and see. Another great feature would be the ability to export such a list for tax purposes (as opposed to having to keep track or receipts. Assuming, of course, this would be acceptable documentation).

Bonus points: allow the tagging of items to “repurchase” – which can then be sent as a list to a mobile phone.
Extra bonus points: an iPhone app that builds a shopping list you can use while in-store (although obviously the items would not be committed to your account until the loyalty card is swiped at checkout)

This is great for the consumer, but what does Lowe’s get out of it? As with any loyalty program, Lowe’s would gain valuable information about who’s buying what (and when). They could use this for targeted promotions or cross-selling opportunities. As well, the ability for people to inventory their home improvement supplies purchased at the store may be enough of an incentive for people not to stop at their local Home Depot.

Let’s be honest, who wants to do anything online in private? Of course, this new Lowe’s dream application would include some social features. You’ve done all this work on a project, why not show it off? The benefit to Lowe’s is obvious. People upload photos of the projects they’ve created, using Lowe’s products. As every product someone has purchased is already associated with his account, it’s easy enough to allow a happy DIYer to tag his photo with the products he used to create it. (Note: this idea came from something a colleague Matt Sidesinger suggested months ago. His flickr stream indicates an immediate audience for this sort of thing!) Members of the community could rate and review each project, ask questions or give advice.

Obviously, this is an application for the existing Lowe’s shopper. Would it drive sales? Maybe, although I don’t see that as its primary objective. I see this as a “value-add”, a way to enhance the experience of the Lowe’s shopper.

The company slogan is “Let’s Build Something Together”. So what do you say, Lowe’s, wanna build this [dream app that will build brand loyalty and foster community] together? My email addy is andrea.hill at gmail. Email me. We’ll do lunch.

4 thoughts on “My Lowe’s Dream Application

  • Nice! So, can I add another feature? The ability to group items (across multiple projects) into a single “project,” and the ability to share those projects (publicly or not). Maybe it’s more for the project-oriented person, but it’s not all that uncommon for me to build the same project multiple times — a workbench for a friend…and then decide I want one just like it, or a bench for myself…and then two of them for a friend. It would be handy to say, “I need to buy the same materials again…or at least get a list to work from.” Or, a list I could give to a friend and say, “Buy this, and I’ll build it.” Maybe a little too niche?

  • Actually Home Depot already offers most of these services with their Commercial Credit Cards. As a property manager for 5 properties I do this all of the time. When I am making purchases for one of buildings I tell the Cashier the property name, for example, “Aker’s Mill” and when I get my monthly statement my purchases are all organized by property. Sometimes I am shopping for various properties so I tell the cashier “Mix” and I get those summarized too. What I do though is I go online and look at my receipts, and then I go into that Mix category and I can see every purchase I made–down to the item level. So I can assign every single purchase. I even export it into Quickbooks, so it is simple. Honestly the first time I did it took me 90 minutes, but now I can log in and do all of this in about 10 minutes. I’ve gotten much faster at it!

    • really, wow! if it weren’t just a commercial card, I’d definitely want to check it out.
      I’m currently reading the Web 2.0 Strategy Guide and the notion of freemium services is discussed. I’d love to see some of these features offered to ‘regular people’, with enhanced features for commercial customers.

      Follow me on twitter: afhill262

  • Really great idea. And to jump on the one-more-feature bandwagon, here’s my addition: Have it waiting for me at the door.
    I’m always running against the clock on home update projects. So it would be extremely helpful if Lowes would be able to collect all the items I need for a repeat project, and have them waiting for me when I come in. I’d even pay an extra $5 (or maybe 5%) convenience charge for that. If I’m building a shopping list online/onphone already, it’s an easy next step. They can mix my paint color, get the drop cloth, add in another one of those brushes I liked, and recommend a new roller they just started selling. Hell, they could even put together “small project” groupings of products that would have the option of adding all the pieces I’d need to my cart (minus the ones I have purchased already).

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