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Q&A with Kathy Higgins of Lowe’s

When she’s not at her desk cultivating ideas for improving the customer experience or technology at Lowe’s, she’s enjoying life on the farm.

Kathy Higgins
Vice President of IT Solutions

How did you get your start at Lowe’s?

In college, I was a double major in accounting and computer information systems. I had the crazy idea to be a forensic auditor. Excel wasn’t even out at that time! I had a few jobs out of college, and then I started at Lowe’s in accounting in 1996. While working, I earned my CPA license. I wanted to break into operations, so I learned more about their systems and began to work more with the ops teams. I ultimately moved into a group that supports a variety of areas, and I even had eComm responsibilities for a time. I was the business owner for all selling applications in the stores. I finally moved into IT and took on a planning/director role.

Tell us a bit about your current role at Lowe’s.

I lead a team that is responsible for the development and delivery of programs/projects for our supported areas, which includes things such as CRM, discrete order management, advertising production, pricing and promotions, master data and analytics. We also are responsible for the ongoing application health, roadmap and production support of the assigned portfolio.

What would you say is the biggest challenge retailers are facing?

It’s a challenge to cut through the noise and find those nuggets that will move your strategy forward. For us, integrations and architecture complexities have been a challenge. We have a homegrown, aged architecture. Working through that complexity will be a big challenge, so we need to find creative solutions to solve for integration and add a layer of agility in between to improve speed to market of our delivery to the business units we support.

Are there any IT innovations you are particularly excited about?

There are a lot of cool things happening with iBeacons and RFID. But I find it very interesting to think about five years from now, retail won’t look like it does now. The impact of millennials will be huge. Companies that started online are now opening brick and mortar stores. Pop-up stores and/or fulfillment locations are changing the way people shop. And with mobile, you can buy anywhere/anytime.

As a customer, what’s your biggest pet peeve?

I don’t like pushy sales people. I’ll avoid them at all costs. I’m an in-and-out shopper, whereas my husband will research a product for weeks and months. I get what I need and get out. I’m not a big window shopper. Most of the shopping I do is online.

What do you value in a retail experience?

Quality is most important to me. Convenience is important to me. Retailers that make it easy for me will get my business.

Which personal achievement is most important to you?

I’d say earning my CPA license while I was working. That took tremendous effort, but I’d like to think it paid off. It made new opportunities much more possible for me. It helped me to break through the crowd when the time was right.

Do you have any special interests or hobbies?

We have a small farm in North Carolina with horses, cows and donkeys. I like to go horseback riding and camping. We also do a lot of canning of vegetables that we grow on the farm. Store bought jams aren’t allowed in my house! We don’t buy beef either because we have what we raise on the farm.

Has working for Lowe’s for so long stimulated an interest in home improvement?

My husband is a contractor, so he covers that angle.