Lowe’s Throws Hard Hat Into the Metaverse

a close up of a sign

Rather than entering the metaverse with a storefront to sell virtual goods, home improvement retailer Lowe's has opted to equip builders with items from its real-world shelves. From June 21 through July 20, Lowe's is offering more than 500 3D digital product assets available for download for free via Lowe's Open Builder, a new asset hub available to all online creators.

To prop up the launch of Open Builder, Lowe's also released a limited non-fungible token (NFT) wearable collection for builders within 3D browser-based platform Decentraland to the first 1,000 participants who outfit their avatars in boots, hardhats and other accessories. The NFTs will be accessible via a free airdrop to users who have linked a MetaMask wallet, also through July 20.

"We've been at the forefront of building since the beginning, and the metaverse is in a pivotal stage of development. It's only natural that we would be interested in working alongside and in service of the emerging community of builders creating this new world, with the democratization of possibility in mind," said Marisa Thalberg, Lowe's chief brand and marketing officer, in a news release. "At the same time, we are also very clear on our reason for being — to make homes better for all by helping our customers to create real world value in their homes, in their jobs and in their communities. This will continue to be our North Star in the metaverse."

Available digital assets available include lighting, patio furniture, area rugs, kitchen and bath accessories, and decor accents and will be usable across metaverse and non-metaverse environments, such as gaming, augmented reality and creative design. Assets can be leveraged by metaverse builders making virtual land, homes, goods and experiences for a slew of decentralized communities.

The custom, wearable NFTs focus on the outfitting of metaverse builders, rewarding and incentivizing these users to engage with Lowe's as they work to deliver positive, inclusive experiences in this new frontier,” according to the release.

While this is the company's first step into the metaverse, Lowe's has been using emerging technology to help shoppers gain inspiration and more easily visualize and plan their home improvement projects for years, according to the company release.

Recent examples of this include the retailer’s Measure Your Space mobile app, which uses LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) to sense depth and map dimensions of a space, and its Holoroom How To virtual reality program, which teaches DIY skills such as how to tile a shower via a fully immersive virtual environment. With Lowe’s Innovation Labs, the retailer is able to test and learn with emerging technology to help consumers imagine more with their spaces.

"Over the past several years, we have infused new technologies into the planning and shopping experience and know our customers have benefitted greatly from being able to explore and test home improvement projects in the virtual world before taking the leap to implementation in their real-world homes or job sites," said Seemantini Godbole, chief information officer of Lowe's, in the release. "By entering the metaverse now, we can explore new opportunities to serve, enable and inspire our customers in a way no other home improvement retailer today is doing."