So much for imagining how your new kitchen will look. Customers at certain Lowe’s stores can now view their design ideas in life-size scale through Microsoft’s HoloLens augmented reality headset, the brand announced on Friday.
The concept reflects the innovative approach to digital that earned Lowe’s its spot in the Gifted category of L2’s Digital IQ Index: Big Box. The retailer previously experimented with virtual reality by piloting the “Holoroom,” where customers used an iPad app to design home improvement projects and experienced the results using Oculus goggles. In 2015, Lowe’s opened two Manhattan locations that incorporate digital displays, letting customers easily browse inventory and make purchases through the brand site.
These projects indicate Lowe’s commitment to adapting its stores to the digital age. Less space is devoted to inventory: the new stores are one-fifth the size of standard Lowe’s locations, and showrooms such as the HoloLens kitchenette further reduce the need to keep physical items on hand. Yet these digital tactics are intended to enhance stores, rather than replace them. Lowe’s new shops may resemble showrooms more than traditional big box outlets, but they are unlikely to disappear altogether.