Appliances are Lowe's #1 category for revenue and it remains one of the last few product types consumers prefer to see in-person before purchase. With an advanced number of features, brands and functions, the website is an important point for sales and as the first contact that drives in-store traffic.
I revamped the process for structuring the application product pages starting with Lowe's highest earning product: refrigerators.
Overwhelming page length
Inability to effectively sort
Poor value proposition
Lack of education about new features
Lowe's wanted to invest in a redesign of the process and experience for its projects with the highest value product being the sale of refrigerators. The experience had been redesigned several times without seeing significant improvement or change.
I tested the desktop and mobile experiences of Lowe's alongside the websites of two competitors for the category. I remotely observed users walking through tasks on their device of choice and asked open ended questions around their desires with the appliance, factors that might influence their selection and their overall impressions and feelings around Lowe's experience and competitors'.
Factors in selection – price, delivery timeline, product details
Customers' research process (online and/or in-store)
Walkthrough selecting a refrigerator from Lowes.com and other competitors
Previous or other experiences purchasing a refrigerator
Comfort level with buying online
Main pain points or concerns
The top motivators for buying a new refrigerator were to replace a broken one (urgent need, looking for something in stock that could have same day take home or delivery, price point was more flexible and less time spent on research and shopping around or waiting for promotions) and price point (interested in sales, promotions and heavy shopping around to find the best offer).
Beyond price and urgency, users commonly were looking for an appliance that would match other appliances in their suite and some had heavy preference by brand to look for something they were familiar with or had already previously owned.
The kitchen is the top room for remodeling with homeowners trying to raise their home value. We also found that the refrigerator was the appliance homeowners looked to replace first and were the most particular with, with other kitchen details and appliances following the same suite or style.
The main pain points for the full experience of replacing a refrigerator was being unsure about how to select size, how to facilitate installation, concerns around delivery, and how overwhelming the catalogue of options felt.
We experienced shopping for a refrigerator as a user, finding the department in-stores, testing and examining functions and features and documenting questions or feelings around the process. We also talked to store associates about their experience and knowledge level with the refrigerators as well as biggest pain points for the product as well as talking to customers who were actively shopping for refrigerators.
Top questions from customers
Reasons for returns or complains
Where customers checked first (if any) before coming in
Motivators for buying a new refrigerator
Concerns around delivery
Sprint In Process
SEO, vendors, stakeholders, search and nav, online content managers, content strategists and UX collaborated in a sprint for insights and design.
As a result, we produced a wireframe with all of the benefits of true collaboration – the technical insights, data driven decisions and human centered design focus. At the end we had full engagement from the line of business and the research and technical support to drive measurable improvement of the page.
I lead the contributors in a 3 day sprint process, 2 hours per day, broken into Discovery & Mapping, Sketching and Low Fidelity Prototyping & Testing. The sprint was focused around widespread engagement, collaboration and creative thinking. No part of the process was siloed to the specialists and everyone had a voice for their concerns, preferences or questions.
The new landing page kept categories for the top main features customers shopped by, restructured by priority and popularity, added short education on some new-to-market features and removed a lot of the clutter that users weren't clicking on that was lengthening the page and making the content overwhelming.
We also included more lifestyle imagery to be inspirational for users looking to remodel or considering completing an entire kitchen suite.
PRODUCT DETAIL PAGE
The product detail page expanded to always include high quality images we began requiring from vendors, added reviews, shipping times and a recommendation for required parts on installation once the item was in cart.
Lowe's saw a 9% increase ($798M) in appliance sales after implementing the design process used for refrigerators. The UX department and product lines of business embraced the design sprint process and the company continued to heavily invest in UX and its digital reach.
Future user testing, improvements, testing around promotions and seasonal events, adapting the process for different product categories, streamlining wire framing for alignment across pages...
Large appliances may continue to be the biggest earner for Lowe's and one of the few products that is not yet in direct competition with Amazon, but the shipping and installation process for Lowe's still needs a lot of work to deliver what customers expect from a good experience.
The process was used to set the groundwork for appliances, but we did not focus on the pros or other major sources of appliance purchases. While many of their motivators are completely different than the everyday consumer, Lowe's relationship with the pros should be getting the same time and attention.