Lowe’s expands with new merchandise and activations in seasonal push
As one of the few retail chains to benefit from increased sales during pandemic-related lockdowns, Lowe’s isn’t holding back this holiday season. The home improvement chain is using the momentum it has gained in recent months to fuel a buying season that includes expansion into new categories and merchandise, and different types of marketing like activations.
“We know consumers are going to continue to invest in their homes,” says Marisa Thalberg, who joined Lowe’s as executive VP and chief brand and marketing officer in February. Indeed, as consumers work on home projects started during the coronavirus, they’ll also be buying items like décor and appliances, experts say. Market research firm NPD predicts a 16% growth in small appliance sales and a 13% growth in non-electric housewares this holiday season.
Lowe’s marketing effort kicks off this week with cyber deals beginning Oct. 22. The Mooresville, N.C.-based chain will be highlighting new brands and merchandise from both categories, even as it continues to focus on areas it is already well-known for, like tools. A 30-second spot airing Oct. 25 features much of the new behavior consumers are familiar with, like home schooling; it also shows kids playing on scooters and holiday tree decorating as a family celebrates Christmas together at home. Lowe’s worked with Via Agency on the spot.
“It’s storytelling-driven and about bringing to life this idea of everything home has given us,” says Thalberg, noting that the spot focuses on areas like holiday décor and wreaths that consumers may not normally associate with Lowe’s.
“We sell tools and appliances and we sell a lot of holiday decorations, but maybe there’s some things out there that you didn’t know we are going to carry and that’s the surprise,” says Bill Boltz, executive VP of merchandise. He notes that Lowe’s has added brand-name bedding, and items from brands including Ninja, KitchenAid, Nordic Track and Bowflex.
The chain will also focus on holiday activations, executives say, and will host red mailboxes where consumers can deposit letters to their home like they would to Santa. Lowe’s worked with FleishmanHillard on some of the activations, while Starcom handled media duties for holiday advertising.
This isn’t the first time Lowe’s has tried something new for a holiday. Earlier this month, the chain said it will host curbside Halloween trick-or-treating. A spokeswoman says that all 200,000 slots for the offering were reserved within 48 hours of opening. To maintain safety during COVID-19, Lowe’s uses social-distancing ambassadors to manage store traffic, as well as an app to count the number of customers. The retailer is introducing deals earlier in an effort to minimize crowds later in the season.
So far, Lowe’s efforts to attract everyday customers and not just business-to-business contractors has helped it gain sales and market share. For the most recent quarter ended July 31, Lowe’s reported sales of $27.3 billion, a 30% rise over the year-earlier period, and net income of $2.8 billion. Same-store sales, a measure for stores that have been open a year or more, were up 34%.