From DIY Quandaries to Pro Solutions: How Lowe's India Powers Lowe's Search Revolution

"We are leveraging sophisticated predictive models and advanced analytics, and have optimized the ‘search journey’ and enhanced “discovery” so that customers find the right products seamlessly amidst our vast assortment."- Vinayak Raichur

Minu Sirsalewala
New Update

For the average homeowner, tackling a home improvement project can be daunting. Between deciphering cryptic product descriptions and wading through endless aisles, a simple trip to the hardware store can quickly turn into an odyssey. But Lowe's, the global leader in home improvement, is on a mission to change that. In this exclusive interview with Dataquest Magazine, Vinayak Raichur, Sr Director Technology at Lowe's India, dives deep into the company's digital transformation journey, specifically how Lowe's India is powering a cutting-edge search revolution that empowers both DIYers and professional contractors.


How has Lowe's digital transformation journey impacted customer experience?

Lowe's embarked on its transformation journey in 2018 as the fast-paced retail industry and evolving customer behaviors demanded the need for modernized tech infrastructure and differentiating CX strategies. With significant contributions from Lowe’s India, our digital transformation journey has enabled the business to steer omnichannel retail innovation, build dynamic products and introduce various functionalities to enhance customer and associate experience. Some of our key initiatives have been the transformation of, sunsetting legacy systems, and leveraging new-age technologies to strengthen functions such as Search, Recommendations and Personalization.

The journey of Search on – its significance, impact, and roadmap?


Transforming our “Search” capabilities on is a great example of how we are using data-driven digital initiatives to elevate customer experiences. Lowe’s has two main customer segments- PROs and DIYs and each of these segments has unique needs and expectations. For instance, a PRO customer (professionals like carpenters/plumbers etc.) may search for very specific items with a solid intent whereas, a DIY customer, looking for inspiration, is more likely to explore multiple items and may end up buying just one of them.

As an $86B retailer, we serve significantly large volumes of search queries annually, we are leveraging sophisticated predictive models and advanced analytics, and have optimized the ‘search journey’ and enhanced “discovery” so that customers find the right products seamlessly amidst our vast assortment. Leveraging AI/ML algorithms, we have revolutionized the Search journey, introducing predictive auto-complete, advanced query understanding, self-learning relevancy, and personalized recommendations. These AI-driven capabilities analyze vast amounts of data, including user behavior and transactional history, to anticipate and fulfill customer needs with precision. This transformation has increased customer engagement significantly, funnel metrics and conversion rates, resulting in positive lift in search user engagement.

How does Lowe's ensure a seamless omnichannel experience, including features like visual and voice search?


Our Search function is developed keeping in mind the evolving shopping trends, unique customer behaviors, and a sharp understanding of what brings delight to customers. All of these enable Lowe's to interact with customers in the most intuitive and convenient ways. Features such as visual and voice search not only recognize images and interpret voice commands but also understand context and intent, providing tailored recommendations and solutions. By seamlessly integrating these AI-driven features across channels, including, in-store checkout, and other platforms, we ensure a consistent, cohesive and frictionless experience for customers at every touchpoint. We are dedicated to further enhancing these features, exploring innovations such as conversational systems powered by AI, and leveraging real-time data insights to optimize customer experiences across all channels.

What role do customer feedback and data analytics play in ongoing enhancements?

Customer feedback helps us identify patterns and prioritize enhancements that address the most pressing needs of our diverse customer base, including both DIY customers and professionals. Secondly, data analytics enables us to make informed decisions based on quantitative insights derived from user interactions with the Search Product. We utilize customer behavior analytics with various signals to ensure that best sellers and trending products are shown as top results based on the buying behavior of our users. Additionally, AI/ML-based self-learning models derive optimal and personalized ranking based on user buying signals such as clicks, ratings, purchases, reviews, and seasonality. Omnichannel-based ML models leverage in-store sales data to impact the ranking of products based on the user’s geolocation.


Overall, customer feedback and data analytics form a feedback loop that drives continuous improvement and refinement of Lowe's Search product, ensuring that it remains aligned with customer needs and preferences while delivering a seamless and personalized shopping experience.

What role does personalization play in Lowe's Search Product, and how does it contribute to customer satisfaction and loyalty?

Personalization is integral to Lowe's Search as each customer has a unique journey from inspiration to installation. How we personalize these journeys significantly impact customer satisfaction, decision-making and loyalty. By leveraging advanced ML models and predictive algorithms, Lowe's is able to tailor the search experience to each user's preferences, past interactions, and browsing behavior. We are addressing challenges around customer query and intent understanding through intelligent ML solutions, this includes the following:


· Name Entity Recognition to better understand user intent around key attributes like category, brand, etc

· ML-based multi-staged ranking, leveraging clustering techniques and Learn to Rank algorithms, to optimize product rankings

· Predictive AutoComplete assists users with predictive suggestions based on search data, accelerating the discovery journey

What modern omnichannel retailers in India can learn from this innovation?

While Lowe’s operates only in the U.S., the evolution of customer behavior and expectations follow similar patterns across markets. Being in the retail business for over 100 years, Lowe’s has witnessed and undergone most of these trends - the rise of online shopping, try-and-buy, same-day delivery, and so on. Omnichannel and especially, e-commerce players in India are doing great innovation. However, as far as Lowe’s approach goes, we believe that innovation should solve business problems, beyond just creating “wow” experiences. Secondly, Lowe's iterative approach to product development, including rapid experimentation and continuous refinement, underscores the importance of agility and flexibility in responding to changing customer needs and market dynamics. Adopting a similar mindset of experimentation and data-driven decision-making will offer retailers unique opportunities to innovate.