Q&A: Lowe’s Curates for Pro, Beginner Shoppers

Store Brands talks with Bill Boltz, Lowe's executive vice president of merchandising, about its recent curation-based programs and the acquisition of Stainmaster.
Dan Ochwat
Executive Editor
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As consumers have been renovating and improving their homes more during the pandemic, Lowe’s has been actively promoting its private and exclusive home goods to inspire shoppers, as well as its tools and products that help DIY and professional customers get a job done.

The company says its striving to provide a “Total Home strategy” for its shoppers, and in just the last few weeks the company has rolled out several initiatives that fit this goal.

On the private brand side, the company announced it acquired the Stainmaster brand, a leader in flooring that was an exclusive with the company but can now be expanded throughout its store. The retailer also has own brand furniture, faucets, cabinets, accessories, decor and a range of products through its allen + roth, Project Source and Harbor Breeze brands. The brands have been featured this month in a new Lowe’s House of Curators program, teaming up with fashion leaders for special product curations and exclusives, and another program called The Lowe’s List for Innovation, a curated list of 60 top-tier products that earn a stamp of approval from the retailer as products that go above and beyond. Exclusive products featured in the first innovation list include HGTV Home by Sherwin-Williams Everlast, a one-coat paint and primer, a Whirlpool Washer with 2 in 1 Removable Agitator, and Flex Power Tools with battery-powered technology.

a man wearing a suit and tie
Bill Boltz

Not forgetting about its professional home improvement shoppers, Lowe’s also launched last month the start of an on-store section dedicated to pros called The Pro Zone.

Bill Boltz, Lowe’s executive of merchandising, spoke with Store Brands about its latest happenings. 

Store Brands: How do all of Lowe’s recent moves meet what the store calls its “Total Home strategy,” and what was the inspiration/insight behind that strategy?
Bill Boltz: When Marvin Ellison became the CEO of Lowe’s, he outlined a three-year strategic plan which focused first on implementing and strengthening retail fundamentals. We feel like we are now in a place where we can focus on growing and taking market share and it’s time to build on the foundation by implementing our Total Home strategy, which supports all home improvement needs for the DIY and pro customer.  

A key piece of the strategy is elevating and optimizing our product assortment to ensure we offer the products and brands that our customers and pros need for their home improvement projects. We want to help the customer from the idea or inspiration stage all the way through to installation and completion, highlighting all the great products and brands we have to offer. The Lowe’s List for Innovation is a great way to do it.

Since the leadership team arrived in 2018, we have been working on a number of retail fundamentals — and one of those fundamentals is all about how to get credit for all the new and innovative products we offer customers. Working with Marisa Thalberg and the marketing team, the initiatives you mention have not only elevated and highlighted our products and brands, but they’ve really unlocked new areas of the store for our customers and shown them what’s possible when they shop at Lowe’s.

SB: How are the retailer’s private brands or exclusive items featured or promoted through the curated campaigns both in-store and digitally?
BB: We looked across our entire product assortment to select items for The Lowe’s List, which does include a handful of items from our collection of private brands along with exclusive offerings. These items are featured alongside those from our vendor partners, badged uniformly in-store and online.

a close up of a sign

This inaugural list includes prominent placement of four hero products: Samsung, Whirlpool, HGTV Home by Sherwin Williams and Flex Power Tools, which will be featured in television advertisements and digital marketing efforts throughout the next few months.

SB: Describe the importance of the Stainmaster acquisition to your private label strategy. How does it fit?
BB: Stainmaster is a leader in its category and has significant trust and brand equity. The acquisition builds on Lowe’s exclusive position as the only national home improvement retailer to carry Stainmaster carpet since 2010, which has led to Lowe’s being the exclusive home of the brand. Acquiring Stainmaster is just another step in delivering on our Total Home strategy, which aims to provide consumers with the products and brands they trust most for every home improvement project from floor to ceiling.

SB: What can we expect to see more in the year ahead, particularly in Lowe’s private brands and exclusive launches as they fit the Total Home Strategy?
BB: Stainmaster is the top brand in the industry and adds to our already-powerful private brand portfolio, which includes allen + roth, Kobalt, Project Source and Harbor Breeze. We are continuing to look for strategic ways to deliver and build on our Total Home strategy.