Lowe's on Monday introduced "Lowe's for Pros JobSIGHT," an augmented video chat tool that allows professionals to virtually visit homeowners and business clients. The retailer developed the service with Streem, an AR computer vision and machine learning tech development company.
The service will be available to loyalty program members for free until Oct. 31, the company said in a press release. Through any mobile web browser, professionals can use the on-screen laser pointer and augmented reality quick-draw tools to assist customers in a virtual consultation and guide them through simple repairs, Lowe's said.
After each consultation, staffers can review a one-page summary with full video, audio, high-resolution photos and notes gathered during the session to answer follow-up questions, according to the release.
As other retailers cope with the loss of brick-and-mortar store sales due to the COVID-19 pandemic, developments continue to emerge from the home improvement market. Research from Apptopia found that app downloads for retailers like Home Depot, Lowe's and Menards have spiked during the coronavirus pandemic. Home Depot and Lowe's have both reported an increase in first quarter sales.
The video chat tool "addresses the immediate needs of Pros and consumers at a time when safely providing essential home services has become more important than ever," Streem parent company CEO Rex Tibbens said in a statement. "By leveraging Streem's proprietary technology, Pros can conduct thorough, contactless consultations efficiently, accurately and conveniently."
Lowe's said it isn't stopping here when it comes to rolling out tools geared toward its pro clientele. Fred Stokes, senior vice president of Pro Sales and Services, said the company will continue to expand its offerings, focusing on "services and partnerships to help run and grow their businesses."
At a time when retailers seek to connect with consumers remotely, it's not surprising to see retailers investing in technologies that help them do so. A May report from Coresight Research estimated that the market for AR technology alone could reach $18.8 billion in 2020. Other retailers, including Asos; jewelry brand Kendra Scott; Shopify; and Ingka Group, which owns Ikea, have invested in augmented reality, virtual reality or visual artificial intelligence tools.