- Lowe’s Innovation Labs is expanding its Holoroom consumer education program into an employee training platform, according to an article on the company’s website. A new iteration of "Holoroom How To" is called "Holoroom How To: Red Vest."
- The new platform for employee training teaches associates the use of specific in-store equipment using virtual reality. Since November, more than 400 associates have tested the program so far in 10 markets, and over 90% reported that virtual reality training would help them to better serve shoppers, the company said.
- Lowe’s has found in the course of four years using real-life applications of augmented and virtual reality that customers using the immersive training techniques have about a 40% higher retention of the steps needed to complete do-it-yourself projects.
You can’t hold a good technology down. Augmented and virtual reality are finally expanding in a number of real-world applications, particularly in the home goods and home improvement sectors.
Lowe’s reports that the latest version of "Holoroom How To" was customized for store associates to provide greater project knowledge, more motivation and increased confidence to address the window fashion needs of shoppers.
Using the technology, a life-like simulation is projected by the platform and modules educate employees about each step in the process. The hands-on practice allows associates to learn from mistakes without wasting materials or creating dissatisfied customers.
Lowe's has been especially ambitious among retailers in trying new technologies. It began the Holoroom project in 2014 to help customers envision home improvement ideas. IKEA has also used augmented reality in a mobile application for use with its catalog.
On the store sales floor, shoppers will find more cutting edge technology, like an associate wearing an "exosuit," a robotic suit equipped with lift-assistance technology that helps them move and lift heavy items more efficiently and with less fatigue. Customers can also use the Lowe’s Vision: In-Store Navigation app, an augmented reality tool used with smartphones to search for products, add them to a shopping list, and find them in the store.
To help executives envision the ideas coming out of Lowe's Innovation Labs, the company has engaged science fiction writers to come up with comic books, or "narrative driven innovation," Kyle Nel, executive director of the Labs, told Retail Dive last year. One story depicted in the comics and brought to life is the LoweBot, an autonomous robot developed with Fellow Robots that assists customers.