August 31, 2011, 5:28 PM

Lowe’s builds an iPhone app to help with home improvement projects

The app includes photo galleries, videos and a bar code scanner.

Bill Siwicki

Managing Editor, Mobile Commerce

Lead Photo

The home screen of the app includes image links to a store locator, the Idea Gallery and an area filled with how-to videos.

Whether on a construction site or in the basement, consumers can now access a wide variety of home improvement content from Lowe’s Cos. Inc. The retailer has built an app for Apple Inc.’s iPhone and iPod Touch that enables consumers to research and purchase products and access practical information to assist with projects.

“With the Lowe’s app we are leveraging the popularity of the iPhone and iPod Touch to help customers make more informed purchasing decisions on the go,” says Gihad Jawhar, vice president of Lowes.com. “We’ve also included a wealth of interactive content to inspire consumers on their next home improvement project.”

The app asks consumers entering it for the first time to select the nearest Lowe’s store; consumers can do this either by entering their ZIP code or by pressing a location button that activates the device’s GPS technology. Once a store is selected, the app orients product details pages around that store, showing inventory there while allowing shoppers via the touch of a tab to check inventory at other nearby stores. A shopper also can make a purchase directly through the app.

Atop the home screen is a site search box and a button that activates 1-D and 2-D bar code scanning. Lowe’s features Microsoft Tags, a form of 2-D bar code, on signs and products throughout its stores. Once the Tag scan area of the app is activated, a shopper points the smartphone camera at the Tag and the app automatically directs him to content on that product or promotion. Consumers can also use another scanner to read QR codes, another form of 2-D bar code, and 1-D bar codes, like the common Universal Product Code, or UPC.

The home screen also features images that when touched lead shoppers to the Idea Gallery and to a Videos area. The Idea Gallery is divided into sections including Bath, Living, Bedroom, Dining, Foyer and Patio. Each section displays a sliding bar on top with numerous thumbnails of room ideas; touching a thumbnail displays a large version of the image below. The Videos area is divided into 19 section including Garden, Bath, Cleaning, Flooring and Home Décor. Each section contains numerous videos designed to inspire customers with improvement concepts and teach them how to execute a project.

Lowe’s, No. 91 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, also enables app users to share products with friends via Facebook, Twitter and e-mail.

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