American retailer Lowe’s to double hiring in India

Bangalore, May 19 2015

US-based home improvement chain Lowe’s Companies Inc. will add 350 more people to its one-year-old Bengaluru innovation centre that provides analytics and technology services to the parent company, a top company executive said. The unit, which employs 250 people, is the first such centre for Lowe’s outside the US.

The new employees, to be added by the end of the year, will help the company scale up retail operations and develop better technological and analytical capabilities for its 1,840 stores in the US, Canada and Mexico.

“We will have 600 people by the end of the year. It’s a small team right ow, but we are growing steadily as we get more projects to develop better in-store analytics for home market,” said Ram Narayan, managing director, Lowe’s Services India Pvt. Ltd.

In May 2014, the $56.2 billion North Carolina-based company that operates big home improvement stores selling hardware and applicances opened its technology and analytic capability centre to develop personalized experiences for its shoppers and develop a platform to sell through multiple channels.

Narayan indicated the retailer may start campus hiring for 2016.

“We will go the campuses and start hiring this year. It’s an important part of our hiring plans. We will hire across profiles ranging from analytics to technology going to top statistics and mathematics departments in the country,” added Narayan.

Lowe’s has hired across analytics and tech-enabled functions in India.

The analytics team in India looks closely at shopping patterns across stores. A part of the team is also helping with projects looking at seamless integration of online and offline shopping.

Lowe’s has been trying to implement technology for its in-store shopping experience in the Americas. Lowe’s is largely dependent on shoppers walking in to the store as purchase of home goods requires shoppers to look at products, measurements and utility and it is working towards enabling small technological nuances to retail.

It recently introduced in-store and online 3D printing in select stores in the US. It also tried installing robots in its stores in select markets to help shoppers pick products across shevles and access product information.

Large retail companies have been expanding their talent pool in India to switch to more disruptive retail models back home in a bid to better combat competition from online retailers such as Amazon.

In a recent interview with Mint, the Indian arm of American discount shopping chain Target Corp, said it would pay top dollar to extract the best talent in the country to scale up its technological capabilities at the store level.

To be sure, current Indian laws do not permit multi-brand retailers such as Lowe’s to establish fully-owned retail stores in the country.

Narayan, however, added that while the excitement for exploring newer markets is present in the company, the focus for now is on the US market.

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