About Lowe’s Stores
Lowe’s is the second largest retailer of home improvement supplies in the United States (after The Home Depot), and the second largest retailer of appliances (after Sears). Lowe’s ranks as the seventh largest U.S. retailer overall. Lowe’s has over 1,250 stores, stretching to 49 of the 50 United States – Vermont is the only state in the Union without Lowe’s, but Vermonters who are Nascar fans will see the Lowe’s Team, including Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus, racing around the track in cars decorated with the company’s logo.
L. S. Lowe opened a store called Mr. L. S. Lowe’s North Wilkesboro Hardware in 1921 in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina. It was at first just a small hardware store. Lowe’s originally sold direct from lumber and parts suppliers. The first stores were based right in front of railroad tracks, and so customers could buy merchandise literally right from the shipment, which cost even less than wholesale from a warehouse. Lowe’s stores still display and store much of their merchandise outdoors.
Lowe’s profited from the construction boom following World War II, and has adapted its marketing strategies ever since to meet the changing needs of consumers. Home improvement tends to remain fairly stable even in a recession, but construction of new homes varies greatly with the market economy. Now based in Mooresville, North Carolina, Lowe’s employed 185,000 people and made a profit of over $46 billion in 2006.
Lowe’s Customers and Merchandise
Lowe’s physical stores carry over 40,000 products for home remodeling, decorating, repair, maintenance, and construction. Special ordering services offered by the store and online provide customers with access to hundreds of thousands more products, in fact almost every product sold by each one of Lowes’ suppliers. Lowe’s offers buyers installation services in more than forty product categories, such as flooring, wood molding, and kitchen cabinets and countertops.
Lowe’s serves mainly do-it-yourself walk-in customers, but also offers customers low cost installation services. Commercial customers include professional electricians, contractors, painters, landscapers, and plumbers. These customers are usually known as cash-and-carry commercial customers, and often have similar needs to private consumers.
Lowe’s Advertising and Marketing
Lowe’s is probably best known for their slogan, “Lowe’s knows low prices.” That catchy phrase has been around since the very earliest days of the company. The brother-in-law of the original proprietor “Lowe”, who bore a different last name, decided to preserve the company’s name because of how slick the slogan sounded. It has served the company well, as Lowe’s now lays stake to 6 percent of the entire home improvement industry.
Most recently, Lowe’s has added a new phrase to their repertoire: “Let’s build something together.” Television commercials promoting Lowe’s stores are focused on the customer-employee connection. Employees of Lowe’s are known as associates, and in the commercials they are depicted as calm, understanding of the diverse needs of the customer, and knowledgeable about solutions to different home improvement problems customers may have.
Radio spots have added the word “experience” to the company’s theme. Certainly, the company has made a point to provide customers with a positive in-store shopping experience. The stores have wide aisles, the buildings are brightly lit, and an employee is always just around the corner to answer questions or help locate a product. On air, the company has also provided a unique audio experience; actor Gene Hackman has been the Lowe’s radio voice, rugged and reassuring, since 2001. Actor Ben Yannette very recently replaced him because, according to senior creative director Wil Boudreau, “Gene Hackman used to do commercials, not anymore.”
Lowe’s Frequently Offered Deals and Discounts
One of the most widely known and oldest deals Lowe’s offers is their price matching guarantee. If a customer finds a competitor’s ad verifying a lower price than Lowes’ on an identical item, Lowe’s will sell the customer that item for the competitor’s price minus 10%. Lowe’s will even call the competitor to verify a lower price if the customer doesn’t have a print ad handy. The only items that do not apply are items on competitor’s clearance or closeout, and no rain checks or layaway apply on this discount.
Something slightly less well known is that Lowe’s offers a 10% everyday in-store discount for all military personnel and their families if military identification is shown at time of purchase. Lowe’s will cut up to $500 from the purchase price with this discount.
Lowe’s takes pride in helping people move into their new home. The company offers a 10% discount to those who are moving. One way to get this discount is to check the change of address forms box at the local post office, which is where Lowe’s often stocks 10% off coupons. These coupons don’t have restrictions, can be used at any store, and don’t have expiration dates. It is also available at LowesMoving.com, where the customer can type in an e-mail address to which Lowe’s can send the coupon electronically. Like the military discount, this coupon is good for any in-store purchase up to $5,000. As a bonus, many of Lowe’s competitor chains, such as Home Depot and Menards, will also accept this coupon.
Current Lowe’s In-Store Discounts
Lowe’s generally has multiple A-frame signs outside its stores that feature special discounts and deals for that day, week or season. Customers may be able to find deals unique to their local areas in weekly flyers, available online but also available in-store.
A current limited time offer from Lowe’s offers free next day delivery and haul away on major appliance purchases until August 2010. This offer is available seven days a week, and delivery is available to anywhere within 75 miles of the store.
Lowe’s offers some of the most competitive pricing in the industry for installation with purchase. Lowe’s is presently offering $97 carpet install for an entire house, not including stairs or custom work. Customers can opt for this deal at the time of carpet purchase.
Another exciting possibility is zero-interest credit, often offered by Lowe’s to customers for the first six months of participation in their credit program. Lowe’s uses GE Money bank for their credit, which is the same bank that runs Care Credit for medical and veterinary charges. Customers interested in this offer should ask about it while checking out purchases in-store, as it varies in availability.
Current Lowe’s Online Discounts
As part of the U.S. Government’s Federal Stimulus Plan, Lowe’s customers can get cash rebates of between $50 and $200 for replacing their old major appliances with new energy efficient ones. Details on the rebates vary from state to state, and more details on which appliances count for the rebate can be found on the www.EnergyStar.gov website.
Lowe’s is offering a $100-400 rebate for purchasing Whirlpool Gold appliances through October 2010. The form necessary to print to receive the rebate is available at the Lowe’s website at http://www.lowespromos.com/PDFs/2554-1.pdf.
Lowe’s is also offering a $100-400 prepaid Visa card for purchasing Samsung appliances in many home categories. The form necessary to print and mail in to receive the rebate is available at the Lowe’s website at http://www.lowespromos.com/PDFs/2478-1.pdf.