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09/21/2022

Lowe’s, Nvidia Team Up to Create AR ‘Digital Twin’ Stores

The “digital twin” stores are exact replicas of two of Lowe’s physical stores and will allow employees to test new displays and layouts.
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a blue "lowe's" sign in front of a building
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  • Lowe’s is partnering with Nvidia to create “digital twins” of two of its stores.
  • Employees at the stores use an AR headset to compare the digital store to their physical location.
  • The technology can allow the retailer to test out new store displays or layouts virtually.

Lowe's is partnering with Nvidia in an effort to implement augmented reality (AR) technology to improve its stores, it said in a release. 

The home improvement retailer said it would partner with the tech company to create “digital twins,” virtual replicas, of two of its stores, one in Mill Creek, Washington, and the other in Charlotte, North Carolina. 

To enter the digital twin store, Lowe's associates at the locations will be equipped with a Magic Leap 2 AR headset, according to the release. Then, they can compare the store shelves in the physical store to the same shelves in the digital store to ensure the products are properly arranged.

"We're thrilled to pioneer retail digital twins and elevate experiences for both our associates and customers," said Seemantini Godbole, Lowe's executive vice president and chief digital and information officer, in the release. "Through emerging technology, we are always imagining and testing ways to improve store operations and remove friction for our customers."

The technology could be used to mock up a future in-store display more efficiently, Lowe's said. For example, without the need to create a physical mock-up, its workers can run simulations to see what would happen if the store was rearranged, and they can also more easily collaborate with the retailer’s centralized store planners, the retailer said. 

The digital twin stores will also enable Lowe’s associates to use a technology that the retailer has dubbed “X-ray vision” to see what’s inside hard-to-reach boxes in the store’s top stock, the release said. It will also enable the retailer to create 3D heat maps that show products in the store that are frequently purchased together, allowing its planners to consider different arrangements to maximize efficiency for customers.

Kroger also this year similarly announced it was teaming up with Nvidia to create digital twin replicas of its stores. The retailer said the collaboration, which also involved building a “state-of-art AI lab and demonstration center,” would help strengthen its freshness initiatives. 

More retailers have been adopting AR and other technologies in an effort to improve the experiences of their customers and their employees, including:  

  • Walmart this month launched the technology to enable consumers to try-on clothing virtually using its iOS app, allowing them to see exactly how a garment would fit on their body, Retail Leader reported
  • Yeti, the cooler and outdoor accessory manufacturer, retailer and distributor, in 2021 launched an AR experience that allowed its customers to view its products virtually in their own environment. 
  • IKEA’s app allows its customers to place entire rooms of furniturevirtually in their homes to see how its products would look together in the physical world. The experience this year was updated to allow customers to delete their existing furniture virtually, Engadgetreported.