©2014 Lowe's. LOWE'S and Gable Mansard Design are registered trademarks of LF, LLC.
©2014 Lowe's. LOWE'S and Gable Mansard Design are registered trademarks of LF, LLC.

Football fans following the National Football League’s draft in late April might have noticed new NFL sponsor, Lowe’s, targeting pro customers.

Lowe’s relationship with the NFL started in January, when it signed a multiyear deal with the league to become its official home improvement retail sponsor. The retailer followed up on that agreement, last month, when it formally launched its Pro Ready marketing campaign to coincide with the NFL draft. The initiative, which includes TV commercials, billboards, and online ads, is the company’s first national marketing campaign that focuses exclusively on professional builders and remodelers.

The campaign’s name, Pro Ready, is a double entendre, reflecting the professional readiness of newly drafted NFL rookies and Lowe’s recent commitment to professional builders. What does it mean to be pro ready? According to Scott Matthews, vice president of pro sales at Lowe’s, it means focusing on five key areas:

  1. Offer competitive pricing with a Lowe’s business account.
  2. Ensure pro-relevant brands are in stock.
  3. Improve the quality and consistency of service levels. Earlier this year, Lowe’s hired in-store pro managers who can focus on pro experiences, such as managing runners for phone sales and handling transactions at the pro desk.
  4. Provide differential experiences. The pro customer has to get in and out very quickly, Matthews says. To help, Lowe’s offers designated pro parking. Additionally, in January, Lowe’s hired more than 2,500 pro loaders for 1,700 stores, who can also support pro customers off-site, as well.
  5. Deliver strong relationships with pro customers and enable them to engage with Lowe’s in different ways through an in-store sales manager, an outside sales manager, or a national accounts team.

Ultimately, Matthews says, Lowe’s aims to reduce friction points for pro customers and enable them to engage with the company the way they want.

Currently, about 20% to 25% of Lowe’s 2019 revenue ($71.31 billion) comes from the pro market, according to Matthews. The No. 2 home improvement retailer’s focus on the pro market follows The Home Depot’s push last year into the same market. Home Depot, in Q4 2018, launched Home Depot Pro, a program that delivers a personalized offering to professional customers through a B2B website. The program, which already has more than 100,000 pro customers, helped Home Depot’s pro sales outpace its DIY sales for the fourth quarter. (See the article “Home Depot Pro Spearheads Retailer’s Effort in the Pro Market”).

There’s no minimum spending requirement for professional builders and remodelers to benefit from Lowe’s pro-customer offerings. The company aims to serve pros of all sizes and can offer financing options, if desired, Matthews states.