I was building a Lowe’s online order and was issued a notice that I could only add a maximum of 10 unique items to my cart. They advised that I should split my order and place another order for the remaining items.
So, I did that, I split my order into 1) items that I’ll be paying store delivery fees on, and 2) items that will ship via ground. The first order went through without issue. The second order, which had 10 items, would not process.
The error message said to try another payment method or to call Lowe’s. When I called Lowe’s last week I encountered a long hold time and gave up after 15 minutes. Different payment methods wouldn’t work. No fraud alert from my bank. I tried again a few minutes later without any luck. I changed my “home store.” I tried from my mobile device.
(A lot of retailers and businesses are warning about “extremely long hold times” should you need to call customer service, which makes sense. I’m guessing that a lot of people are ordering more online, and also can’t visit their local stores for returns or exchanges, leading to a surge of customer service phone calls. A lot of retailers and businesses have also eliminated or human chat options, leading to phone calls as the only option.)
I removed one of the items from my cart, adjusted the total of a different item to meet the $45 limit, and the order for 9 unique items went through and seems to have been processed without a hitch.
By unique items, that’s basically the number of different products in your order. Let’s say you want (4) of the same pipe and (2) fittings of the same kind. That’s just (2) unique items.
Home Depot Changes
I forgot to add an item to my Lowe’s order – PVC trim for a much-needed repair – and thought maybe I should add it to my Home Depot wishlist or shopping cart, since I’ll likely place an order there over the next few days.
A message appeared just now, and I don’t believe it was there two hours ago when I added something to my Home Depot cart with express delivery selected.
The following issues need your attention:
Our store associates are working hard to serve our customers’ most critical needs while also fulfilling online orders. Because of this, and the increase in volume, we’ve adjusted our minimum to $45 for delivery from store.
Please change your fulfillment method or add more items to your order to proceed.
We apologize for any inconvenience.
Right now my order subtotal is $15, and with an estimated express delivery charge of $8.99.
From what I understand, express delivery orders are delivered straight from a store, rather than via truck freight services, UPS or FedEx, or other such delivery services.
Basically, increased volume means you must order at least $45 of merchandise to get store delivery. This makes sense to me. Let’s say you’re ordering a couple of bags of water softener salt, or air filters, or a bunch of project supplies. The $45 limit ensures that store-to-your-door fulfillment is worth the time and effort.
Plus, maybe that will cut down on orders? I waited two weeks to map out my needs exactly before placing today’s Lowe’s delivery order, to cut down on the cost but also limit the number of trips that they would need to be made out here.
With Home Depot’s express delivery starting at $9, I can definitely see people taking advantage of that lower fee to place smaller orders than they would otherwise. Or, there might just be a lot more people placing smaller orders than usual.
Either way, there’s a new limit of $45 for express delivery-from-store orders.
Update (2 hrs later): Home Depot has now marked a lot of garden center items, such as potting mix, as being of “Limited Stock,” at local stores that previously reported many dozens of units in-stock. Meaning, you can’t buy it online anymore, even with Express Delivery. The product pages now say to call stores to confirm availability. This is an observation, not a complaint, as potting mix and garden supplies are rarely essential, which should conserve manpower for delivery of construction materials.
Have You Noticed Any Other Changes?
Retailers are adapting the best they can to changing circumstances.
We’ve heard that there’s a lot of foot-traffic at home centers right now, with people browsing around because there’s no other place for them to shop at. Due to social distancing guidelines, a lot of regular shoppers aren’t heading out to home centers for non-essentials that they would normally buy or pick up there.
It’s unclear as to what’s going on with online ordering, but it seems that Lowe’s has taken the responsive measure to limit the number of unique items per order, and Home Depot now has a new minimum order amount for delivery-from-store orders.
I’ve been checking pricing and availability on certain items recently, and Lowe’s has marked a lot of items as in-store-only purchases. Home Depot will sell those items online, but with in-store pickup and express delivery as the only options.
For example, consider Miracle-Gro potting mix:
I don’t know how Home Depot or Lowe’s typically sell potting mix, as I’ve never shopped for things like this online. Back in mid-March, I noticed that neither retailer was selling seed packets online, but it could be because these items are only kept in stock at stores and not in warehouses due to their seasonality.
If you want to order this potting mix online, you can at Home Depot but cannot at Lowe’s, and perhaps that’s why Home Depot’s Express Delivery service is seeing high demand?
Update: Home Depot has marked a lot of garden center items, such as potting mix, as being of “Limited Stock,” at local stores that previously reported many dozens of units in-stock. Meaning, you can’t buy it online anymore, even with Express Delivery.
Lowe’s has some other items, such as empty spray bottles, marked as in store only, and I can’t tell if this is a new or existing policy on those items.
It seems that Home Depot and Lowe’s are being inundated with online orders, and I’m sure they’re not the only ones.
What other changes have you observed?
As mentioned in the other post, I received emails from seed companies that they’re temporarily halting orders. A fabric bag and case maker suspended orders last month due to reduced staff, but they are now making and shipping cloth face masks. That’s not the same as the other changes we’re talking about here, but it seemed worth mentioning.