How science fiction is guiding strategy at Lowe's

Stephen Whiteside

Robotic shopping assistants and three-dimensional simulators seem more like science fiction than today's retail reality.

The fact such futuristic ideas were created by Lowe's – rather than, say, an Apple or Google – could well further convince customers they have stumbled into an alternate universe.

And if consumers did not wholly expect the home-improvement chain to take a leadership role in this area, they were far from alone. "I don't think Lowe's thought that either," Kyle Nel, executive director of the home-improvement chain's Innovation Labs, admitted to delegates at South by Southwest 2015 in Austin, Texas. "And the way we got this stuff done was by leading with story,"