In its second-largest acquisition, Amazon buys the company for $970 million.
Employees can access a wealth of information for customers in the aisles.
In a move to boost customer service in a way unique to mobile technology, Lowe’s Cos. Inc. is deploying 42,000 iPhones in its nearly 1,700 U.S. stores that employees will use to aid customers in store aisles. That means approximately 25 iPhones per store.
Employees can access the Lowes.com mobile commerce site to obtain detailed product information and how-to videos. They also will be able to check inventory in-store and in surrounding stores to secure the quantity of a given item a customer needs.
“Employees will have the opportunity to view how-to videos, to show customers exactly what they mean when describing how to accomplish a project or install a part of a DIY project,” a company spokeswoman says.
Staff will not be able to place mobile orders on the iPhones for customers, but the company says that capability will be rolled out in the future.
“We will continue to add functionality to the devices over time, but this will allow for a simple and seamless transition between customers and employees,” the spokeswoman says. “Our goal is to make home improvement simple for customers and our employees.”
Lowe’s, No. 91 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, expects to have all 42,000 iPhones deployed by the end of its fiscal year, Jan. 31, 2012.