Lowe’s is embracing pets as part of its home improvement retail plan.
The Mooresville-based retail chain is partnering with Petco to pilot the first “store-in-store” concept adding pet food and supplies, the company announced Thursday.
Lowe’s + Petco locations will also offer Petco services, such as mobile grooming and vet clinics for vaccinations, microchipping and pest prevention. The first location will open early next month at Alamo Ranch, Texas, and expand to 14 other stores in Texas, North Carolina and South Carolina by the end of March.
Half of the Lowe’s + Petco locations will be in the Carolinas within the Charlotte region. But the companies have not selected which stores yet, Bill Boltz, executive vice president of merchandising for Lowe’s, told the Observer on Wednesday.
Boltz would not disclose how much either company is investing in the new in-store concept.
The store-in-store will cover about 1,100 square feet in the seasonal zone in the front of the store, according to Lowe’s.
Pilot locations will staff Petco employees during peak hours for pet-focused needs alongside Lowe’s workers offering advice on home improvement projects, according to Lowe’s.
“It’s really the first type of this type of relationship that Lowe’s has entered into,” Boltz said.
Lowe’s has expanded its pet products through the years to to meet customer demand, he said, and this new partnership also meets the home improvement company’s strategy to increase market share by becoming a “total home solution.”
Lowe’s + Petco adds “taking care of the other member of your family inside your home, which is your pet,” Boltz said.
Pets and the home
A recent survey commissioned by Lowe’s found that 58% of respondents said they’d be more likely to shop at a home improvement retailer if they could also purchase all their pet needs in the same place.
The survey also found 69% of pet owners saying their pet was a factor in their decision-making when searching for their current home. And 90% of pet owners want their pet to be comfortable in their home.
Lowe’s, which already welcomes dogs in its stores, has added pet-friendly products like Stainmaster carpet, dog beds, dog doors and cleaning supplies.
As more people, including millennial and Gen-Z pet owners, factor in their pet when choosing a home, company spokeswoman Amy Allison said Lowe’s saw an opportunity to create a convenient shopping experience to meet this rising need.
The pet products will be available for purchase in store and online to be picked up curbside, in contactless pickup lockers or at the customer service desk at Lowe’s + Petco pilot locations.
Capturing more customers
Lowe’s has been expanding its focus to capture more customers in other ways, too, from top competitor The Home Depot.
Last spring, Lowe’s added its “Pro Zone” near the store entrance with products for grab-and-go convenience, trailer parking with extended parking spots and free phone charging stations.
Lowe’s Tool Rental launched two years ago in Charlotte, offering professional-grade tools and equipment for pro and do-it-yourself customers.
In November, Lowe’s launched Livable Home for aging-in-place and life-change solutions, partnering with AARP to offer online and in-store collaboration in customer education. It rolled out at nearly 500 stores in about 50 metro areas and will continue expanding throughout this year, according to Lowe’s.
Lowe’s also expanded its touchless lockers for online order pickups during the pandemic and said it would open 50 delivery terminals, seven distribution centers and four e-commerce fulfillment centers nationwide for faster home delivery.
More changes for Lowe’s, Home Depot
Lowe’s employees are expected to begin moving into the new tech hub center in South End between May and July, the Observer previously reported.
Lowe’s is spending $153 million on the project to modernize its digital business as part of its growth strategy. That includes creating technology like “Measure Your Space,” launching this year.
Lowe’s has more than 2,200 stores and about 300,000 employees.
Meanwhile last week, Lowe’s rival The Home Depot confirmed as part of the Atlanta-based company’s growth strategy, it will open a warehouse in Steele Creek focused on same-day and next-day delivery. The company also offers some pet products such as dog beds, crates and houses, and food bowls, according to the website.