The online retailer has spent nearly $300 million acquiring three shipping software vendors over the past nine months.
The startup Porch.com already lists on its web site more than 1.5 million contractors available for home improvement projects. Employees across all of Lowe’s home improvement stores are using Porch.com to help customers find contractors for their projects.
In all of the more than 1,700 Lowe’s home improvement stores across the United States, shoppers in need of professional help with a project can get assistance from store employees who will search Porch.com on their mobile devices to find a contractor.
The agreement with Porch enables Lowe’s to connect customers with contractors in areas where the retailer doesn’t already offer installation or remodeling services. "While we have already been able to help our customers with projects like installing flooring or remodeling a kitchen, our partnership with Porch means we can now guide customers to find help for nearly any home improvement service, from routine maintenance to dream projects," says Jay Rebello, vice president new business development and corporate innovation at Lowe's.
Lowe’s and Porch didn’t clarify the terms of their agreement. Lowe’s is displaying signage in its stores advising shoppers they can log onto Porch.com directly or with a store associate to find a contractor. Lowe’s is No. 36 in the newly published 2014 Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, which ranks companies on their annual web sales.
Porch.com, which launched last September and is based in Seattle, lets contractors list their services online for no charge. The company this month introduced the Porch Premium service, which lets contractors pay as little as $50 per month for additional features such as getting one of four preferred listings in specific ZIP codes, an online profile with photos, and a monthly report of web data showing profile click-through rates and the e-mail addresses and phone numbers of site visitors who leave their personal contact information.
Porch, which has 140 employees, says it is operating with $6.25 million in capital from unnamed angel investors.