In the current world of trade, retailers are put to task by the “world of extremes” that is characterized by intense competition, unprecedented complexity and polarized marketplace. Consumers’ expectations for satisfying shopping experience continue to increase. Overloaded by differing priorities, most retailers no longer have their scope on the total retail expedition; as a result, consumers’ satisfaction is on the decline. Considering the rising competition for consumer’s expectations, and the polarized marketplace, the traditional ways of differentiating competition are challenged and have missed the mark in keeping up with the dynamism. To meet the retailer’s need that would evolve their focus towards becoming consumer-centric in execution and strategies. With the increasing priorities being centered on the consumers’ perspectives, the part played by the stores has become critical mean of delivering highly satisfying shopping experience. The failure to do so carries a significant cost.

  1. Discuss the Preferences of Both men and Women Regarding Shopping at Lowe's as Compared to Home Depot

Over the past two decades, Lowe’s and Home Depot have overpowered competitors, such as Ace and True Value in terms of market share and revenue. The giants have various things in common. They both offer almost the same varieties of commodities; have their headquarters in the South, and the average size of their stores is almost the same. Though it is hard to measure, analysts are of the opinion that the prices, staff and selection tend to be similar to large extents. Several shoppers interviewed on their preferences on the two stores thought that Home Depot has a higher edge as compared to Lowe’s, their view was that Home Depot is more about contractors, lumber and bags of cement, while Lowe’s has emphasized the appliances, plants and lighting.

Home Depot has a passion for military men being preferred by most male customers; about 13% of HD’s employees have a military background. Though Lowe’s does not keep track of the veterans it transacts with, company is in record for having set up a design that attracts female shoppers. Lowe’s have more appliances and lighting, and little of warehouse atmosphere, cool colors in the displays and high emphasis on the furnishing materials. This is strategic in attracting more female shoppers, since women buy more home improvement appliance than men do, who instead purchase the hardware. Lowe’s is more preferred by women shoppers, as compared to Home Depot, which attract mostly male shoppers (Amason, 2010).

  1. Explain the Differences in Men's and Women's Attitudes about Product Selection and Pricing at Lowe’s and Home Depot

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The differences between a Home Depot store and a Lowe’s are fairly distinguishable. Lowe’s stores are designed in such a way that it is possible for two carts to pass comfortably, a design that have appealed to most female shoppers. The store management has targeted based on the fact that more than 80% of the projects at home are initiated by females. To attract more of nonprofessional shoppers, Lowe’s is preferred for their higher-margin commodities. Meanwhile, HD is traditionally known for its reliance on lots of selection, low prices and sales of materials to contractors. As Lowe’s gets into bigger markets, it is being preferred by some shoppers who were previously shopping at HD. This has caused HD to fight in every level. HD is cutting back its expansion pace, coming up with smaller stores designed to capture urban shopper. They are also developing the Expo Design Centers targeting female shopper. Lowe’s retain high preferences among female shopper; in spite of its higher prices, as compared to HD, this can be attributed to factors, such as attractive colors on their displays and spacious shopping areas. On the other hand, HD has won men’s confidence with their competitive prices and a wider selection of hardware materials (Amason, 2010).

  1. Discuss Whether Lowe's Should Have Distinct Merchandising Strategies for Men and Women Shoppers

Lowe’s strategy is to capture the consumers’ shopping for high margin home furnishing and large appliances at its urban based stores. As the store embarks on pushing hard, for growth aimed at covering up for the lost time, it would be suicidal to neglect either the gender in their strategies. Acknowledging that different consumers have different preferences and attitude toward goods and services offered in a store, such as Lowe’s, it is fundamental to have distinct strategies for female and male shoppers. In modern times, women are known to be more specific on the type on purchase. They tend to spend much time trying to get into the details. On the other hand, men have details of the item in their mind and want to get in the shortest time possible. Thus, it would be considered a wise decision for Lowe’s management to design different strategies to capture their customers, both male and female. This will assure the store of a ground in competition with Home Depot (Jones, 2011).

  1. Explain the Criteria that Lowe's Should Use in Selecting New Suppliers

It is fundamental to have the optimal suppler, in order to ran a business more effectively (in the midst of the current competition being experienced in the market) than to leave the procurement procedure to chance. In industrial purchasing research, criteria, such as service, quality, price and delivery have dominated supplier selection. Other explicit criteria, such as location and reputation, are of considerable importance, but relative to the parties. For Lowe’s to achieve the best results in recruiting the best suppliers, it is crucial for the management to apply quality, cost and services, as the criteria for settling on the supplier selection parameters. Give the nature of competition that Lowe’s is engaged into, supplier selection on the basis of quality; cost and service should be at the core of decision-making. Evaluation and selection of suppliers based on these criteria enhances the four aspects of Lowe’s consumers’ satisfaction (quality, price, delivery and variety) and the performance of Lowe’s stores (Wang, 2010).

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