Lowe’s recently launched the Lowe’s UpSkill Project, a contest in which selected applicants learn home improvement skills from Lowe’s specialists that can help them complete a personal DIY project, according to a company press release.
Applicants can apply for spots in the project by submitting a video about a DIY project they would like to complete, but may feel they have inadequate skills to do so. The most recent application period for contestants in Riverside, CA, and Nashville, TN, opened Monday and extends until Aug. 14, according to the project web site.
In each of these cities, five winners will be chosen during the third week of August and will have their project work addressed during October and November. Another round of Lowe’s Upskill Project will be open for application in early September in Albuquerque, NM; Tallahassee, FL.; and Charleston, SC. In October, applications will open in Phoenix, AZ; and Houston, TX.
Lowe's plans to deliver Upskill help to about 200 customers in 40 U.S. cities and each of the five Upskill Project winners will receive a $2,000 gift card, which — of course — is to be spent at Lowe’s on supplies for their chosen projects.
Not only is Lowe’s using the project to create foot traffic and sales (even though $2,000 worth of supplies is on Lowe’s, you can bet winners — and their families and friends — will feel compelled to buy more.), it's also turning the winners into influencers of some sort. The retailer likely has hopes these winners will help spread the stories of how Lowe’s helped them conquer their project fears with some expert guidance and supplies, the latter of which can be found at your local Lowe’s store.
Ultimately, Lowe’s Upskill Project serves a purpose similar to that of Home Depot’s recently launched interior design service. It’s another way of extending the expert advice that always has been promoted as the full-service customer experience of shopping at such home improvement stores. Additionally, Lowe's is looking to create a community vibe among its customers, something many retailers are attempting to do both in overt and subtle ways.
The Upskill Project is also a way for Lowe's to appeal to a new generation of potential customers, some of whom may not be as eager to tackle DIY projects around the house. The retailer acknowledged that its own research suggested as much: While home improvement spending continues to increase, attitudes toward DIY are changing as new and existing generations cite a decline in confidence to complete home projects, the company said. Lowe's answer is to rebuild their confidence with a little bit of guidance.