Home improvement retailer Lowe’s Cos. Inc., No. 21 in the Internet Retailer 2018 Top 1000, has appointed Seemantini Godbole as chief information officer, effective Nov. 12. Godbole currently serves as senior vice president of digital and marketing technology at Target Corp. (No. 17).
In her nearly nine years with the retailer, Godbole introduced technologies for Target services, such as ship-from-store, digital wallet, localized pricing, customer loyalty programs and buy online, pick up in store. Prior to Target, Godbole also spent 15 years at travel technology company Sabre, where she held a variety of senior technology leadership roles.
“[Godbole] is a proven retail executive and brings to Lowe’s extensive expertise in transforming digital platforms to drive outstanding results by focusing on the technology needed to improve the customer and associate experience,” says Marvin Ellison, Lowe’s president and CEO.
Ellison is also a newer addition to Lowe’s, having left his CEO position at J.C. Penney Co. Inc. (No. 31) to join the home improvement retailer in June. Just a couple months into his tenure as CEO, Ellison decided to shut down all 99 of Lowe’s Orchard Supply locations—along with a plan to revamp the inventory at the retailer’s namesake hardware stores.
Additionally, the retailer will focus on omnichannel initiatives. Already roughly 60% of Lowe’s e-commerce transactions are picked up in a store, Ellison says. “That’s telling me that our customers, they’re already resonating with our omnichannel philosophy and being able to connect digital and physical,” he says. “We just need to make it more seamless and so the investments required are really already underway, the road map is already built and we’re continuing to tweak it.”
Lowe’s reported same-store sales increased 5.2% during the period that ran through Aug. 3. That was an improvement over the first quarter, when an extended winter delayed home renovations. Lowe’s is expected to report third-quarter earnings on Nov. 20.
In other e-commerce news:
- Visual social media platform Pinterest has hired Andréa Mallard as its first chief marketing officer. Prior to joining Pinterest, Mallard held the same position at Gap Inc.’s (No. 20) Athleta division. She also served four four years as chief marketing officer at digital health company Omada Health and eight years as design director for international design and consulting firm IDEO.
- French retailer Carrefour, No. 28 in the Europe 500, has hired Amélie Oudéa-Castéra as executive director of e-commerce, data and digital transformation, effective Nov. 19. She previously spent 10 years as chief marketing and digital officer at French insurance company Axa.
- App-based grocery delivery service Instacart has been busy. A few weeks ago it raised $600 million and earlier this week expanded its buy online, pick up in store service for grocery stores nationwide. Now, it’s adding people to its growing team. Instacart has appointed Varouj Chitilian as it first vice president of engineering and Dave Sobota as its first vice president of corporate development. Both previously worked for Google. Chitilian spent 12 years at Google as director of engineering, focusing on consumer payment services such as Google Pay. Sobota spent nearly 14 years at Google as director of corporate development.
Additionally, Instacart has hired the team behind mobile app analytics startup MightySignal to strengthen its own engineering team. MightySignal’s CEO and co-founder Shane Wey is now director of engineering at Instacart. The grocery delivery company in a statement about the hires says MightySignal will “build customer engagement-focused product features that delight new and existing Instacart customers across the U.S. and Canada.”
- Product experience management platform Salsify Inc. has acquired chat technology company Welcome Commerce, which lets brand chat with consumers on major retailers’ e-commerce sites, such as Walmart Inc. (No. 3), Office Depot Inc. (No. 14) and Target. The new chat service from Welcome Commerce will be called Salsify Chat, the company says in a statement. Welcome Commerce’s co-founder and president Dan Herman also is joining Salsify as vice president of retail strategy. The chat company’s Austin headquarters will now be a Salsify office.
- Artificial intelligence-based customer support platform Bonobo AI has raised $4.5 million in seed funding led by G20 Ventures and Capri Ventures. CEO and co-founder of Bonobo AI Efrat Rapoport says its technology integrates with customer service communication platforms and customer relationship management platforms, such as Zendesk, Salesforce, Twilio and Hubspot. The technology then analyzes interactions to help its clients with closing a sale, improving responses for dissatisfied customers or detecting when a customer mentions a competitor, threatens to post their complaint on social media or brings up problems that are a legal or compliance risk, Rapoport says.
- Employee management provider Samanage has raised $30 million in Series D funding from Morgan Stanley Expansion Capital, the private investment platform within Morgan Stanley Investment Management. Samanage, which serves more than 2 million users worldwide, wants to use the funding to accelerate its growth and expand its global market share in the IT service management industry.
- Hong Kong-based social media content and data analytics startup PressLogic has raised $10 million in a Series A+ funding round from Meitu, the developer of the popular Chinese selfie app, which brings PressLogic’s total raised to $15 million. Meitu first acquired a minority stake in PressLogic last year. PressLogic plans to use the funds to launch its new lifestyle and fashion-based social network GirlStyle as an app and website in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, India, Korea and Malaysia by the end of this year.