Congratulations on the launch of the new Lowes.com site. There are so many things to consider when taking on a project of this scale. What prompted the redesign?
Our customers’ shopping behaviors are constantly evolving, and we need to evolve with them. Since our last big redesign in 2010, a lot has changed in the e-commerce, social and technology spaces. We wanted to create an environment that helps us stay out in front of changing customer behaviors and expectations so we can be faster, more responsive and provide a better experience wherever and whenever customers choose to shop with us.
Much of that shopping is increasingly taking place on mobile devices. How much did the growth of mobile play into the redesign?
Mobile is critical. Today, 50 percent of users access our site via mobile and touch devices, so one of the big things we focused on was making sure we designed for touch and solved for the smaller screen.
So improving the mobile experience was your primary goal?
Our goal is to make shopping easy and engaging for all of our customers, whether they use a desktop, tablet or mobile device. So when we kicked off the redesign, the first question we asked was, what do we need to do to create an even better customer experience across all platforms? At the end of the day, the site needs to be intuitive, wherever and however customers engage with it.
How do you make a site with 500,000-plus products and dozens of different types of pages intuitive for all your customers?
Through a combination of research, testing and feedback. We worked on this redesign for nearly two years, and talked to nearly 350 customers throughout the process. For the product detail page alone, we spent close to nine months on research and testing. We brought customers into the office and visited our stores and contact centers to show them what we created and to capture feedback. We listened intently, identified what customers wanted, and then worked through solutions until we got it right. We restructured the site with customer need in mind, but we wanted to solve pain points as well.
Give me an example of a pain point addressed by the redesign?
On our homepage, our guiding philosophy was to help the customer find product in a friendly, helpful way that minimizes friction points throughout the experience. This drove many of our design decisions, like exposing our homepage navigation and creating the services bar to capture things like credit, rebates or installation services that we moved from the masthead. We wanted to really simplify the shopping experience. Prior to redesign, we helped customers easily find our products through our mobile app, where we featured an in-store map alongside aisle and bay information for the store the customer was currently shopping. This guiding information helped customers feel empowered in our stores to locate products quickly. So when we rolled out the redesign, we made sure to feature this same information across all devices. Now, customers can see an in-store map, along with aisle and bay information for in-stock products, on desktop, tablet and mobile. This is just another way we are working to provide a seamless experience to help the customer.
Speaking of customer experience, you’ve also changed how product are represented on the site.
Customers want to know what products look like. The images are now 40 to 60 percent larger. Together with the 3D spin photography that allows you to zoom in on product details, the bigger images help give customers confidence they need to complete their purchase.
Some of the changes you made to the site probably went unnoticed. Can you share an example of something you changed that we maybe cannot see?
We made strides to improve the performance of the site, as well as how we release updates. The new software we’re using is a big leap forward and really speeds up response rates, so that you can browse and interact with the site quickly. This new technology also enables us to push out site updates and enhancements much faster than ever before.
When you redesign a site, it’s natural that it will take time for people to adjust. How have customers responded?
I liken it to the experience visiting your favorite local grocery store. You know exactly where to find eggs in your store. Then one day, they move things around. You walk in and wonder, ‘Where are my eggs?’ The next day you come back, you know where they are and it becomes second nature. Change is never easy, but customers adapt very quickly. We expected it would take awhile for people to get adjusted to the redesign, but it’s actually happened much faster than we anticipated. The positive customer response and early results have exceeded our expectations.