Will Lowe’s UpSkill Project empower more consumers to tackle home improvement jobs?
Some home improvement projects aren’t as easy as the pros make them look on TV or in YouTube videos. For some of those aspiring DIYers whose skills don’t quite match their ambition, Lowe’s is now offering a helping hand.
The Lowe’s UpSkill Project website allows people with a home improvement project but limited skills to submit a video about the task they plan to take on. Lowe’s then selects winners and sends out a team of associates and experts to their home — not to do the work, but to guide the homeowners through planning and completing the project while teaching home improvement skills in the process. The first round of the UpSkill Project featured 200 winners from 40 U.S. cities, according to a press release.
Providing on-site teaching services on-demand and at scale could be challenging for the chain, but the UpSkill Project does not appear to be a one-off promotion. While submissions are now closed, the UpSkill Project website lists three upcoming application windows for people in specific cities to submit videos to participate in future rounds. The website lists the contest as being open in two cities in August, three cities in September and two cities in October.
Offering a personal touch is a big part of what differentiates home improvement chains in the minds of customers. Ace Hardware generally tops the list of favorite stores for home improvement shoppers specifically because the in-store staff are knowledgeable and helpful. But there is only so much guidance an associate can give in-store. Bringing people on-site to guide customers, rather than do the work, could represent an unexplored type of home service/learning experience hybrid.
And while teaching home improvement skills may seem like a tall order, some big names have made an educational element to the retail experience.
Apple stores have long offered in-store workshops to train customers on how to get the most out of their products. In fact, as part of an initiative called “Today at Apple,” the retailer recently expanded the classes to all 495 of its stores.
- Lowe’s Launches UpSkill Project – Lowe’s Home Improvement
- The UpSkill Project Video Contest – Lowe’s Home Improvement
- Why do so many people love shopping at Ace Hardware? – RetailWire
- Will Apple get customers to go back to school? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you see the UpSkill Project becoming a regular home service offering from Lowe’s? Should other home improvement retailers consider offering on-site, in-home training for customers?