A001 / Democratization of Expertise

Holoroom How To

  • 2017
  • VR

Honored at the 2015 Augmented World Expo

Selected as the Best Enterprise Solution at the 2015 Auggie Awards

African-American female wearing VR headset learning DIY skills in a Lowes Home Improvement holoroom experience.

Democratization of Expertise

Teaching DIY skills in a fun, interactive virtual reality environment

Once you start a home improvement project, there's no turning back. And in many cases, there’s no way to get hands-on experience other than to start the project.

At Lowe’s Innovation Labs, we’ve consistently explored methods to digitally deliver skills and confidence to our customers and associates – without the risk of a real project.

Lowe's Home Improvement holoroom experience with African-American female inside wearing VR headset learning DIY skills.
We are creating next generation in-store experiences that empower our customers and associates with the confidence, knowledge and skills needed to take on new projects.
Josh Shabtai

Josh Shabtai

Sr. Director, Ecosystem
Lowe's Innovation Labs

01

2017

Holoroom How To

What it is

Lowe’s pioneered the use of virtual reality technology in retail, extending its application beyond design with Holoroom How To - an immersive in-store VR installation that facilitated scalable DIY skills training.

By putting on a VR headset and holding a controller in each hand, the user was immersed in a DIY project – such as tiling a shower – and given instructions to complete the task.

From mixing the mortar to laying the pattern, the simulation walked customers through each step of the process.

Haptic feedback, such as feeling the vibration of a drill through the controller, added to the lifelike experience, without the waste or mess of testing a DIY project in the real world.   

Collage of African-American woman holding VR controllers learning multiple aspects of DIY skills in a Lowes Home Improvement holoroom experience.

This three-store test in Spring 2017 found that the VR program improved unskilled DIYers to a memory performance level comparable to that of experienced DIYers. 

The program demonstrated our ability to teach customers in an entirely new way, and give them the confidence they needed to undertake a daunting renovation.

02

2017

Holoroom How To: Red Vest

What it is

In 2017, we introduced Holoroom How To: Red Vest, an employee training platform to teach store associates how to use specific equipment in our stores through virtual reality.  

Among the many types of products Lowe’s sells are custom window coverings. When a customer wants custom blinds for their home, an associate often cuts them via an in-store machine – a machine that can be intimidating to use for newer employees. 

Holoroom How To: Red Vest was designed to walk associates through a virtual reality simulation of the blind cutting machine, beginning with them taking an order from a customer and ending with them virtually cutting the blinds to order. The intent was to help associates develop confidence when cutting blinds without the stress of actually using the machine.

Beginning in November 2017, Holoroom How To: Red Vest traveled to 10 markets nationwide, including Philadelphia, Tampa and cities throughout North Carolina with more than 400 associates participating in the experience.

Collage of Lowes Home Improvement associates trying out VR headsets.

The program demonstrated that hands-on practice could be a great way for associates to learn a new skill without the risk of wasting materials or disappointing customers.

After the life-like simulation, employees who experienced this training felt more confident and motivated to help our customers. Compared to standard training, associates who participated in the experience showed less hesitation, expressed higher confidence in their own ability, and reported higher satisfaction with the training.