Will Lowe’s become birthday party central for kids?

Discussion
Photo: Lowe’s
Jan 20, 2023

Lowe’s may be giving new meaning to the term lifetime customer value. The home improvement retailer is looking to appeal to consumers as young as five-years-old with a new pilot offering in-store birthday parties for kids.

The chain is testing its “Build a Birthday” parties at 10 locations in Arizona, California, Indiana, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah. The decision to test birthday parties grew out of the success that Lowe’s said it has had with monthly workshops tailored for kids in its stores.

Families can book private parties at the participating locations for Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. The stores offering the parties will give the birthday kids the options of projects such as building race cars, wooden castles, custom wall shelves and others.

The birthday party packages are designed to accommodate 12 kids with the option of having up to 20 join in the fun. Led by a Lowe’s Red Vest Party Captain, the retailer provides safety goggles, aprons and party construction hats. The instruction is designed to give the kids “practical and hands-on knowledge.”

Parents will have the option of having Lowe’s provide pizza, drinks and desserts from Domino’s along with party favors such as t-shirts, water bottles and backpacks. The home improvement retailer is offering $100 Lowe’s gift cards to the first 50 parties booked between Jan. 19 and April 17.

“Home improvement is about the whole family and that’s why we have Weekending at Lowe’s events every Saturday at our stores, including our kids’ workshops that help us feel connected to our littlest DIYers,” said Jen Wilson, senior vice president, enterprise brand and marketing. “And this launch is a natural extension of that relationship. Not only do we want to inspire future builders, but we want DIY — and Lowe’s — to be an integral part of family milestones and memories.”

Lowe’s has plenty of room to scale its “Build a Birthday” service if the pilot project proves successful. The retailer operates nearly 2,200 stores across the U.S.

The chain reported a better-than-expected three percent increase in U.S. same-store sales during the third quarter, which ended Oct. 28, as Lowe’s saw sales among its professional construction customers increase 19 percent year-over-year.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you expect Lowe’s “Build a Birthday” party pilot to be a success and widely scaled across the chain’s stores? What benefits do you think Lowe’s will derive from this program?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"When I read the initial headline I said to myself, this is dumb. Then I read the plan and concluded, this is brilliant."
"A twist on 'experiential retail' that will drive more frequent store trips and place Lowe’s deeper into consideration sets."
"...the idea is worth its weight in gold. Lowe’s is developing muscle memory for young kids on cool DIY projects with the birthday parties as a means to trial."

Join the Discussion!

22 Comments on "Will Lowe’s become birthday party central for kids?"


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Mark Ryski
BrainTrust

This won’t drive much revenue itself but it’s a very interesting idea to increase traffic and store activity, and build loyalty. Parents are looking for unique birthday experiences, and this will resonate with some parents — it’s not for everyone. Overall, I don’t see any harm in the concept as long as these purported benefits are actually realized.

Susan O'Neal
BrainTrust

Physical retail locations are less about assortment and convenience these days, and more about brand and experience. Interestingly, this is the polar opposite of what created these “big box” retailers to begin with. Whether the “Build a Birthday” program is successful or not (and I suspect it will be moderately successful), it’s encouraging that Lowe’s is experimenting in this area, while also investing in a future of DIY Lowe’s brand loyalists.

Georganne Bender
BrainTrust

Craft stores aren’t the only retailers cashing in on the maker craze, Lowe’s and Home Depot have had project classes for kids for years. Lowe’s Build a Birthday is a natural extension of those classes.

These parties will grow future customers. I am all for giving kids safe, hands-on experience with tools. It’s a life skill many of us never learned. Plus, party construction hats. I love it!

Jeff Sward
BrainTrust

Wow. This is one of the most clever ideas I have heard of in a long time. It’s experiential, it creates fun memories, and it involves the whole family. Almost sounds like Disneyland. (OK, that’s a stretch.) Maybe it’s a platform to help form new activities and hobbies for kids that don’t involve a screen. It remains to be seen how sticky the brand is for a six year old who has their birthday party there, but it sounds very sticky for the parents who now have a whole new reason for Lowe’s to become a go-to retailer in their lives.

Neil Saunders
BrainTrust

In the general scheme of things, this is a small initiative that won’t make an enormous difference to Lowe’s business. However it’s a good idea that introduces the idea of DIY, making, and crafting to kids who will, one day, be fully fledged consumers. It also helps Lowe’s visibility with parents to some degree, which is an area it needs to address as it so often plays second fiddle to Home Depot.

Dr. Stephen Needel
BrainTrust

I feel like I’m back in junior high taking shop. Do kids honestly think this is cool? There’s got to be better places to have a party.

Verlin Youd
BrainTrust

If done right, organized and executed with the right approach, kids will love it! I haven’t met many kids that don’t like to pound nails and use simple handheld tools, including some power tools. It would likely result in some of the parents learning a thing or two as well.

Dr. Stephen Needel
BrainTrust

I’m pretty sure power tools are not on the agenda — think of the insurance liability!

Georganne Bender
BrainTrust

My grandson would love this! He’s seven.

Gene Detroyer
BrainTrust

When I read the initial headline I said to myself, this is dumb. Then I read the plan and concluded, this is brilliant.

The Lowe’s experience will stick in the young one’s heads forever, just like all of us have memories of something special we experienced as a child. Will it turn them into a future customer? The Lowe’s brand will trump Home Depot in their minds when it comes to DIY. That doesn’t even speak to a young one reminding their parents to go to Lowe’s for whatever DIY products they need.

KarenBurdette
Guest

I thought the same as well as — where are they going with this? But after reading the rest of the article, I realized how smart and innovative this is! It reminded me of my daughter’s birthday party where each of her guests made a pumpkin candy dish out of a clay pot to take home. It’s still her favorite birthday party memory — mine too!

This seems like a natural evolution of their kid’s workshops, but I do wonder about the liabilities. The workshops were a parent/child thing with close supervision, but if you’ve got 20 kids running around with hammers — I don’t know!

Ken Morris
BrainTrust

Yes, this is exactly what retailers should be doing. The kids get a fun experience—and pizza—while Lowe’s engages them in the brand and the whole concept of DIY, giving them inspiration for their future. The kids don’t get to take their customized bear home after the party, but they do go home with new memories. Not to mention the photos to be shared on social. Lowe’s builds its list of parents and perhaps stores the kids’ names away until they’re old enough to handle the power tools. I see this scaling and becoming an integral part of the Lowe’s brand throughout the chain.

Ken Wyker
Guest

This has so many elements that make it a smart and strategic move. The impact of this will be in the emotional connection the kids and their parents will have with Lowe’s. Lowe’s is planting the seeds now of a stronger business in the future.

David Spear
BrainTrust

Little to no revenue will come from this, but the idea is worth its weight in gold. Lowe’s is developing muscle memory for young kids on cool DIY projects with the birthday parties as a means to trial. What better way to engage kids in practical building projects than at a real, working store, where kids can walk around, touch and experience an operation in action? Many years ago, I always brought my boys to Lowe’s or Home Depot on Saturday morning trips and they loved it. I think this has success written all over it.

Gary Sankary
BrainTrust

This is a brilliant idea. My local CAT Implements dealer has been doing this for a long time. It was a massive hit for the kids. This will bring some excellent publicity for Lowe’s but I am not sure it will drive much revenue. But, for the kids and their families who take advantage of this, it will be a blast and create meaningful connections with those current and future customers.

Scott Norris
Guest

Oh, that’s brilliant: kids love big machinery! Not only do you get the emotional high and tie that may influence parents’ buying decisions, you also plant the seed for career choices and education to cultivate the next generation of workers and leaders. There are probably a fair number of other “hands-on” companies that could give this a try (with appropriate safety provisions of course) as well. John Deere, florists, FedEx, for starters.

Verlin Youd
BrainTrust

This seems to be a very smart idea for Lowe’s to build loyalty and traffic, taking advantage of today’s parent looking for experiences over things as well as not needing to do advanced preparation and cleanup afterwards. This also has the benefit of teaching useful skills like organization, following instructions, and assembly that don’t seem to be as readily available in today’s world of pre-assembled everything. Finally, the children will have something they’ve created to support a hopefully positive memory for years to come.

Melissa Minkow
BrainTrust

It’s increasingly important for specialty to sell services in addition to products, and this is a prime example of that. A twist on “experiential retail” that will drive more frequent store trips and place Lowe’s deeper into consideration sets.

Ken Lonyai
BrainTrust

I like this idea. It will create a very minor revenue bump now and as the kids age. A better idea would be to take early teen kids and give them vocational training, maybe by partnering with schools and branding it “The Lowe’s…” That would have long time benefits for the brand and fill gaps that are coming to the labor force quickly.

Otherwise, I view Lowe’s as a second place finisher to Home Depot. There’s so much more they can be doing for their brand given that fact than dabbling in these minutia, hopeful concepts. Anyone can look on the pages of RetailWire over the years and see many Lowe’s initiatives that strayed from their core and ultimately died a quiet death. This is likely yet another of those.

Ananda Chakravarty
BrainTrust

I still remember enjoying weekend building projects with young kids with little kits to build a rubber band wooden car or a balsa wood glider. This kind of marketing never gets old and locks in the younger audience. Properly administered, Lowe’s brands itself as a destination experience.

We’ll see younger marketing, use of store space, parent marketing, and in-store traffic increase as well as branding. The key cost is putting a trainer or administrator to manage the event. Even with a small following, Lowe’s stores can drive value. Great move, and will definitely be a hit in parent based neighborhoods.

Craig Sundstrom
Guest

The timing on this is remarkable: wasn’t it just yesterday — literally — we were discussing the viability of a business dedicated to party supplies? And one of the main issues, of course, was competition in the sector.

I won’t venture a guess as to how this will go for Lowe’s — I’m putting it in the “hard to see it” aisle for now — but I’m fairly confident the more they succeed with it the more it will harm some other retailer … one specifically.

Mark Self
BrainTrust

I am late to the party here, but I agree with Gene — my first thought: STUPID, my second thought: GENIUS. Love this.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"When I read the initial headline I said to myself, this is dumb. Then I read the plan and concluded, this is brilliant."
"A twist on 'experiential retail' that will drive more frequent store trips and place Lowe’s deeper into consideration sets."
"...the idea is worth its weight in gold. Lowe’s is developing muscle memory for young kids on cool DIY projects with the birthday parties as a means to trial."

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