updated 01:10 pm EDT, Fri September 9, 2011
Transaction processing in long-term plans
Home improvement chain Lowe's is in the process of equipping its workers with 42,000 iPhone 4s, according to Bloomberg. In initial use the devices will simply handle tasks like scanning, checking product information, viewing how-to videos or connecting to lowes.com. Each store should get about 25 phones, states CIO Mike Brown.
The executive adds that phones will eventually be enabled with more functions, including calling, email and texting. At some stage the iPhones will be able to handle credit and debit card purchases, drawing traffic away from registers. Apple uses specially-equipped iPod touches at its own stores for the same reason.
Lowe's as a whole is in the middle of a massive technological upgrade effort. Beyond using iPhones the company is increasing store bandwidth, adding Wi-Fi hotspots, and making more goods available online. Some 72,000 computer screens in the chain are being replaced with flat-panel displays. "Forget about the competition, we are playing catch-up with the customer psyche," Brown explains.