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Commerce chronicles: June 10, 2024

Jun 10, 2024 - Alyssa Wolfe
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June 10 Commerce Chronicles | Lowe's, Apple, Timex, AutoZone & more

Lowe’s uses VR to help customers design and visualize kitchens, Timex marks 170 years and Z SUPPLY makes connecting with a stylist easier than ever. Plus, Spirit Halloween looks for thousands of seasonal workers and Home Depot ramps up same-day delivery.

In this week’s news, Lowe’s uses Apple Vision Pro to take kitchen design to the next level, AutoZone sees distribution network as key to improving the customer experience and Home Depot expands its partnership with Instacart to increase same-day delivery. Plus, you can now “Text-a-Stylist with Z SUPPLY. Visit our blog every week for a roundup of the latest commerce news.

Lowe’s unveils immersive kitchen design app for Apple Vision Pro

Lowe’s has launched a groundbreaking app, Lowe’s Style Studio, exclusively for Apple Vision Pro, revolutionizing how customers envision their dream kitchens.1 Available at launch in the visionOS App Store, this immersive tool simplifies the kitchen remodel process by offering an end-to-end visualization experience. Users can explore and experiment with various styles, transforming their physical surroundings into a virtual kitchen showroom with infinite possibilities.

Lowe’s Style Studio allows users to quickly audition new colors, finishes and products using simple gaze-and-tap gestures. The app lets users save favorite combinations and create professional-looking style boards, which can be easily shared with friends, family or designers outside of Vision Pro. Built by Lowe’s Labs and the core mobile apps team, this innovation marks the next chapter in nearly a decade of Lowe’s work in spatial computing. Seemantini Godbole, Executive Vice President and Chief Digital and Information Officer of Lowe’s, says, “Lowe’s Style Studio on Apple Vision Pro is like no other home improvement experience. It will help people better understand their individual style, imagine new possibilities, and ultimately, discover the best products and services for their next kitchen.”

Designed to offer customers better tools and frictionless services, Lowe’s Style Studio provides an intuitive way to bring kitchen projects to life. Users can explore preset styles curated by Lowe’s designers and customize them with hundreds of real-world materials, fixtures and appliances from Lowe’s. With nearly 80 billion possible combinations, every customer can create a unique kitchen inspiration, confidently transforming their vision into reality.

Timex celebrates 170 years of watchmaking

Timex®, an iconic name in the watchmaking industry, proudly marks its 170th anniversary, celebrating a legacy of innovation and durable craftsmanship.2 Since 1854, Timex has revolutionized the industry by making quality timepieces accessible to all. Known for pioneering brass movements and mass assembly lines, Timex moved watches from pockets to wrists and introduced iconic innovations like the "watch that made the dollar famous."

Timex’s milestones include creating women’s watches as fashion accessories, developing the first NASA-certified smartwatch and launching the first sports watch. The brand’s INDIGLO® technology changed nighttime time-telling, and its recent achievement as the world’s first circular watch brand showcases its commitment to sustainability. “2024 is a significant milestone for us,” said Shari Fabiani, CMO of Timex Group. “A Timex watch is more than just a timepiece; it tells your story.” Giorgio Galli, Global Creative Director, emphasized blending historical inspiration with contemporary trends in their designs. Key collections like the bold Q Timex, sophisticated Marlin, classic Waterbury and rugged Expedition North highlight Timex’s enduring heritage and innovative spirit.

Z SUPPLY launches “Text-a-Stylist” shopping service

Z SUPPLY, renowned for its comfortable and stylish women's essentials, has introduced "Text-a-Stylist," a new personalized shopping service.3 Customers can now text +1(949) 564-9650 to connect live with a Z SUPPLY stylist for tailored shopping recommendations, gift advice and styling tips. This free service also helps customers create wish lists to share.

“Text-a-Stylist is designed to make shopping effortless and enjoyable,” said Z SUPPLY President Mandy Fry. “Customers receive start-to-finish guidance from a real stylist.” Available Monday to Thursday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Friday, 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. PT, the service complements Z SUPPLY's popular styling videos and recommendation emails. "Helping customers find their confidence with fashion and style has always brought me joy," Lena Jensen, Z SUPPLY Stylist, said. "At Z SUPPLY, we have something for every woman and every part of her day. Whether they are looking for an outfit for a job interview, something comfy to wear as a new mom, or a seasonal refresh of their wardrobe, I'm here to make sure they look and feel their best!"

text reading the ecommerce platform for selling b2b, image of person shopping ecommerce clothing store on laptop

Spirit Halloween hiring 50,000 seasonal employees ahead of 2024 store openings

Hiring in retail poses significant challenges, especially during peak seasons when demand for staff surges. Retailers often struggle to find and train a large number of employees swiftly, ensuring they meet the needs of increased customer traffic and maintain high service standards. However, Spirit Halloween, the largest Halloween retailer in North America, looks to get a head start, and is gearing up to open over 1,500 locations across the U.S. and Canada in 2024.4 The company is seeking 50,000 seasonal sales associates and store managers. These roles come with competitive salaries, flexible scheduling, a premium pay incentive program and seasonal retention bonuses for returning store managers. Additionally, all associates enjoy a 30% discount on Spirit Halloween purchases.

"The excitement and enthusiasm of Halloween continues to grow, and as we gear up for another season, we are looking forward to welcoming new associates and store managers to our team," said Steven Silverstein, CEO of Spirit Halloween. "Opening over 1,500 retail locations is no small feat, and much of the magic we create for fans each year is thanks to the passion and dedication of our associates who bring the Spirit Halloween experience to life."

Home Depot uses Instacart to expand same-day delivery

Amid the challenges of peak retail seasons, The Home Depot is enhancing its ecommerce capabilities by expanding its partnership with Instacart.5 This collaboration, following a successful pilot earlier this year, will offer same-day and next-day delivery services from nearly 2,000 store locations across the U.S. and Canada. Customers can now order a wide range of home improvement essentials, from garden supplies to light fixtures, and have them delivered within an hour.

The service includes Instacart’s Big & Bulky fulfillment solution, catering to items up to 60 pounds such as grills and ladders. The Home Depot aims to provide a seamless shopping experience by integrating Instacart’s rapid delivery system, enhancing flexibility for customers who prefer online shopping. “Our brick-and-mortar stores are foundational to The Home Depot, and expanding our ecommerce capabilities is a key part of our ongoing efforts to deliver a seamless interconnected experience,” said Jordan Broggi, President - Online at The Home Depot. Blake Wallace, Senior Director of Retail Partnerships at Instacart, emphasized that the partnership simplifies access to essential home improvement products, enhancing customer service effectiveness. 

AutoZone expands distribution network to enhance supply chain efficiency

AutoZone is advancing its supply chain strategy with significant investments in its distribution network, as highlighted in a May 21 earnings call.6 CEO Phil Daniele announced that the auto parts retailer is nearing completion on two new distribution centers in California and Virginia, and expanding its facility in Tepeji, Mexico. In addition, AutoZone has initiated the construction of a larger facility in Monterrey, Mexico. “Our strategy is focused on leveraging the entire network to carry more inventory closer to the customer, driving sales growth with improved speed, expanded parts availability and improved efficiencies,” Daniele said.

AutoZone's ongoing projects aim to deliver a superior customer experience by enhancing execution and expanding capacity. A key element of this strategy is the development of mega hubs, which are central to improving inventory placement and parts availability. By March, AutoZone operated 101 mega hubs, with a goal to open over 200. The company opened 20 mega hubs in 2023 but plans a slower rollout in 2024, with an acceleration expected in FY25. AutoZone is also optimizing its direct import facilities to enhance efficiency in handling products from foreign production sites. The new West Coast facility, opened in 2022, has already improved distribution efficiency and reduced safety stock requirements. logo, Sell Everywhere title, woman smiling, global icon