This fall, Lowe's will introduce LoweBot, a NAVii™ autonomous retail service robot by Fellow Robots, in 11 Lowe's stores throughout the San Francisco Bay area. Following a successful robotics test of OSHbot at one of the company's Orchard Supply Hardware stores, LoweBot will roll out in phases over a seven-month period beginning in September in San Jose, Calif., and will further explore how robots can meet the needs of both customers and employees.
"For nearly two years, we've studied how robots in our San Jose Orchard Supply Hardware store can help customers more effectively navigate the store to find products and assist employees with inventory scanning," said Kyle Nel, executive director of Lowe's Innovation Labs, the company's disruptive innovation hub. "Now, we are taking those learnings and applying them to a focused group of Lowe's stores to see how the technology supports a broader customer and employee base."
LoweBot will add a layer of support to amplify the trusted advice of Lowe's employees as it helps customers with simple questions, enabling more time for employees to focus on delivering project expertise and personalized service. Having the ability to scan inventory and capture real-time data with LoweBot will also help detect patterns or gaps that will ultimately influence business decisions.
As an omni-channel home improvement company, Lowe's is working relentlessly to shape the future of retail and deliver simpler and more seamless interactions with its customers. Lowe's launched Lowe's Innovation Labs in 2014 to explore ways to meet the changing expectations of the customer today while evolving the company's capabilities to better serve customers in the future. Intelligent help is just one area that the Labs is pursuing to see how emerging technology can improve the customer experience and complement employee project expertise.
LoweBot was developed through a partnership between Lowe's Innovation Labs and Fellow Robots, the same Silicon Valley technology company specializing in the design and development of autonomous service robots that worked on the OSHbot pilot. The partnership was initiated through SU Labs, a Singularity University program that connects corporate innovation teams with startups and other organizations to explore exponentially accelerating technologies and create new sustainable business solutions.
"We designed the NAVii robot to make the shopping experience easier for consumers – simplifying the process of finding the product you're looking for – while also managing the back-end and keeping shelf inventory up-to-date for the retailer," said Marco Mascorro, chief executive officer of Fellow Robots. "Leaving the data and simple recommendations to NAVii allows Lowe's employees to devote their attention to the Lowe's customer, to provide them with thoughtful advice and personalized