By Juan Tornoe
I remember back in May 2009 – “Medieval Times” it seems with the way the web is developing, the closing of The Home Depot’s Spanish website took me by surprise. They really had no online competitors back then; Lowe’s “En Español’s” site wasn’t more than a colorful placeholder. Still, The Home Depot made the tough decision to bring the site down and it has stick to its guns up to this day.
August 17th, 2011… Right there in my inbox: Lowe’s launches Lowes.com en Español. No, they didn’t just update their old site, or added a couple more pages in Spanish; they did not hold anything back! This is what I call a comprehensive site; check it out for yourself. Anything and everything you need/want to find in Cervante’s tongue is there – well, not in the Castilian of that time, but you get the idea. From information, to buying online, all the way to a great do-it-yourself section called “Ideas Creativas”. You can tell I’m impressed.
Their press release quotes Gihad Jawhar, Lowe’es vice president of Lowes.com saying, “Our No. 1 priority at Lowe's is to ensure our customers have the best possible experience shopping with us, whether they plan a project with our employees in the aisles of their local store or at home through our online tools and services. Providing a Spanish language option on Lowes.com is a natural next step as our website develops to provide improved customer service.”
All this information was intriguing enough to make me reach out to Lowe’s and engage in an email exchange with their spokesperson, Sarah-Frances Wallace. Out of those messages came the following Q&A, which I am pleased to share with y’all:
Juan Tornoe: How was the process to come with the decision to launch a full-fledged Spanish site?
Sarah-Frances Wallace: Our top priority is meeting the needs of our customers and making sure they have a pleasant shopping experience in store and online. The decision to offer Lowes.com in Spanish came to fruition as we listened and responded to the needs of our Hispanic customers, who told us they needed the right tools and resources so they are able to find exactly what they need easily and wherever they choose to shop with Lowe’s. And as our Hispanic customer base continues to grow, we will evaluate other opportunities that allow Lowe’s to better communicate with our Hispanic customers and offer them a positive, welcoming shopping experience in our stores and online.
JT: What are your goals for the e-commerce side of it?
SFW: Grow awareness of the Lowe’s brand among Hispanic consumers by providing them the right tools and resources in Spanish needed to inspire them and help them identify the products and services they need to continuously improve their home.
JT: What did you think about Home Depot's decision a while back to close their US Spanish site? Did this influence your decision?
SFW: We won’t speculate on the decisions of Home Depot. But we are confident this is the right decision to meet the needs of our customers and make sure they have a pleasant shopping experience in store and online. We’ve been offering in-store signage in Spanish for our customers for a long time now. So, offering our Web site in Spanish is a natural extension of the welcoming, accessible environment we provide to our Hispanic customers in store. We’re proud to now have a Spanish site available so our Hispanic customers’ experience is seamless whether they are in our stores or shopping from their home computer.
JT: How are you promoting the site amongst Spanish Speakers?
SFW: We’ve spread the word about Lowes.com en Español through print, broadcast, radio and digital advertising.
We’re also currently offering a $10 of $50 project starter for the first 150,000 customers who register with the site. Visit Lowes.com/español and register today to get your project starter and check out the site.
Our La Cancha Lowe’s mobile tour will also be promoting the site. Lowe’s started the La Cancha Lowe’s Fan Experience tour in 2007. La Cancha Lowe’s is a traveling mobile rig where customers can interact with the Lowe’s brand at select soccer and cultural events throughout the US. In 2011, the La Cancha Lowe’s will travel over 40,000 miles to some of the nation’s largest soccer (World Football Challenge) and Hispanic cultural events (Cinco de Mayo, Fiestas Patrias, Festival Telemundo).
LowesCreativeIdeas.com also launched in Spanish. Customers can access the Spanish language content by visiting www.LowesCreativeIdeas.com/espanol. Lowe’s Creative Ideas offers inspiration to first-time homeowners and savvy DIYers alike. Ideas Creativas de Lowe’s will launch in print this September in collaboration with Siempre Mujer magazine, followed by a Holiday 2011 edition.
JT: What reactions have you received from customers & the industry?
SFW: The site is still very new and we are currently gauging the response from our consumers so we can continue to adapt and improve the site to meet their home improvement needs.
It seems to me that Lowe’s is in it for the long run. I’ll be keeping an eye on the site and so should you.