Lowe’s will open its first fulfillment center solely dedicated to serving its professional consumer base in Charlotte, NC this month.
Any customer can place orders for products such as lumber, roofing, shingles, insulation, along with windows and doors, and expect them delivered to their jobsite the next day.
As an industry facing high demand amid times of challenge, Lowe’s aims to ease time by dedicating a portion of its function specifically to the professional consumer. According to Lowe’s State of the Pro 2022 report, 76% of construction professionals rely on suppliers/retailers more now than before.
Additionally, the fulfillment center will allow more pros to place larger orders, and takes the pressure off the stores, explains Tony Hurst, senior VP, Pro, Services, and International at Lowe’s.
“Without a fulfillment center, we're typically sourcing products from other stores, or maybe we're completely taking the inventory out of a store. Then that other pro who just needs a few things has a bad experience,” he says. “This helps solve that, and this gives us more capacity for deliveries from our stores.”
Inside Lowe's new Pro Fulfillment Center in Charlotte. Courtesy Lowe's
The fulfillment center comes with more trailers and trucks for deliveries as well, offering improved delivery window times and increased capacity, according to Hurst.
The Charlotte fulfillment center pilot marks another move in Lowe’s focus on the pro market: The company launched its pro loyalty program in 2020 then a redesigned program this March, and its Pro Shopping Experience last spring, which features a specialized Pro Zone section in-store, including dedicated checkout lanes.
Charlotte’s fulfillment center spans 200,000 square feet and was retrofit to be a zero-emission facility. The performance of Charlotte’s center will be key in Lowe’s understanding of how to best service its professional customer base, the company says. The Charlotte center will service 28 local stores.
As of now, there are no plans for additional fulfillment centers.
“Our plan right now is to stay focused on Charlotte,” says Hurst. “We’re trying to test and learn how this benefits our pro and what adjustments we need to make. Then think longer term of what that might mean for more strategic initiatives down the road and how this might fit into that network.”