When it comes to satisfying your home improvement needs, which retailer should you patronize–Lowe’s or Home Depot? Keep reading to find out what each store has to offer in terms of products, customer service, pricing, and more.
Lowe’s Home Improvement
5. Target Market: DIYers
Lowe’s is geared more toward the do-it-yourself crowd and less toward the industry professional crowd. As a result, you’ll notice that there are tons of in-store assistance for do-it-yourself projects. You’ll also notice that all the products are clearly labeled. And, you’re also likely to find a design consultation center there as well. So, if you are a first-time home improvement customer, Lowe’s stores are probably more suited to you as they can often be less intimidating than Home Depot stores.
According to The Spruce, Yelp reviewers had a lot to say about Lowe’s employees. Some reviews were good, but most of them were bad. For example, there were lots of one-star reviews from customers complaining about employees who seemed rude or unfriendly. Ironically, some reviewers left five-star reviews and said the staff at the store they patronized was helpful and friendly. Another plus is that, overall, the reviewers found the employees to be adept at directing customers to the right aisles and ringing up purchases correctly.
Writers from BUSINESS INSIDER visited the Lowe’s store in New York City’s Flatiron District and compared it to a nearby Home Depot store. What they found was that Lowe’s seemed to have less products in every department, from paint to lighting to tools and everything in-between.
As far as the actual products found there, Lowe’s is known to carry store brands and exclusive brands, and they tend to steer customers to specific brands. For example, Lowe’s has Kobalt and Task Force branded tools, Pella new-construction windows, and Valspar and some Sherwin-Williams paints. Unfortunately, customers on Yelp took issue with the quality of some of the brands offered at Lowe’s. For example, the Kobalt and Task Force branded tools were seen as less than stellar.
2. Pricing, Shipping, and Returns
On average, Lowe’s and Home Depot tend to have the same prices. In fact, it’s not uncommon to find similar items priced within pennies of each other. The biggest difference in pricing is with less popular items such as HVAC, electrical, and plumbing products. Lowe’s also offers a 10 percent price-match guarantee that says if you find a product for less somewhere else, they’ll beat the price by 10 percent.
As for delivery options, Lowe’s offers same-day delivery. They also offer an in-store pickup option for online orders.
And, when it comes to returns, Lowe’s can be quite lenient. “The return desk is the first thing that customers see when they enter the stores,” The Spruce said in an article published on its website. “When you return the item with a receipt within a reasonable period, you can get cash back. When you return without a receipt, you can get store credit. If you used a credit card, you do not need to show a receipt, as your credit card is recognized when you swipe for the return.”
Unfortunately, many reviewers complain about the return desk being understaffed.
1. Financial Health
According to The Motley Fool, Lowe’s 2018 fourth-quarter earnings came in relatively flat. Fortunately, new CEO Marvin Ellison is making an effort to catch up to Home Depot. As a result, he’s brought on a new chief information officer and a new president of online sales. Here’s what’s been happening so far:
In Q4, online sales improved 11.1 percent (less than half the growth rate of Home Depot’s Q4) and total sales increased 1 percent to $15.6 billion. Meanwhile, Lowe’s reported an adjusted EPS improvement of 8.1 percent to $0.80. Also, comparable-store sales rose 1.7 percent, and January saw a 5.8 percent increase.
The Home Depot
5. Target Market: Industry Professionals
Home Depot generally appeals to industry professionals such as plumbers, contractors and interior designers, who account for 45 percent of the store’s total sales. As a result, when you walk into the store, you’ll notice that many products are not labeled. That means you need to know exactly what you’re looking for when you arrive, else you’ll likely end up confused. On the positive side, there is a directory and plenty of experts to help you. Plus, there are consultation centers and workshops, too, where customers can learn home-improvement techniques.
You know who else Home Depot appeals to? Millennials. Yep, that’s right. According to a survey by Bank of America, 64 percent said Home Depot was their top choice for home improvement shopping. Meanwhile, 53 percent of millennials said they preferred shopping at Lowe’s.
According to The Spruce, Yelp reviewers had a lot to say about Home Depot employees as well. Like Lowe’s, most of the reviews were not so good. Again, there were lots of one-star reviews from customers complaining about seemingly rude or unfriendly employees. Still, some customers left five-star reviews that said the staff at the store they shopped at was both helpful and friendly. Another positive is that, overall, the reviewers found the employees to be skilled at the basics, like directing customers to the right aisles and ringing up purchases correctly.
The writers at BUSINESS INSIDER found that Home Depot had way more products to offer than Lowe’s. And, just like Lowe’s, Home Depot also carries store brands and exclusive brands, including Husky, Ryobi and RIDGID tools, and Behr and Glidden paints. They also tend to steer customers to specific brands. And, just like with Lowe’s, customers took to Yelp to complain about the quality of some of those brands sold at Home Depot as well, especially the Husky brand tools.
2. Pricing, Shipping, and Returns
As we stated earlier, Home Depot and Lowe’s tend to have the same prices. Again, the less popular items will have the biggest price disparity. And, like Lowe’s, Home Depot also offers a 10 percent price-match guarantee. Home Depot also offers special financing plans for shoppers using a store credit card.
When it comes to delivery, they offer same-day delivery in addition to in-store pickup for online orders.
As with Lowe’s, Home Depot also has a generous return policy, with cash-back or store credit options. And, if you paid with a credit card, you won’t need to show a receipt because your card is automatically recognized when you swipe for the return.
FYI, they offer online returns as well.
1. Financial Health
According to Forbes, Home Depot is “one of the strongest and best-run home improvement companies in U.S. retailing. Fiscal year 2017 sales were $100.9 billion, and net earnings were $8.6 billion.” The ironic twist here is that Home Depot was actually founded long after Lowe’s–32 years later, to be exact. Lowe’s was founded in 1946 and Home Depot in 1978. And, as of last October, Home Depot has nearly 2,300 stores spread out over the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.
Which store do you shop at for your home-improvement needs? Let us know in the comments below. Thanks for reading!