Tell a group of science fiction writers to imagine the future of retail and what will they come up with? It's shaping up to be a world entrenched in virtual reality, robotic sales associates and now, the ability to 3-D print custom items for your home, Lowe's Innovation Labs has learned. In the latest project to come out of the home improvement store's innovation labs, Lowe's Orchard Supply Hardware store in Mountain View, California, on Wednesday will debut 3-D printing and scanning services that let shoppers customize their home accents and fixtures.

Environmental groups are trying to put a scare into Lowe's this Halloween. Locations of the home improvement store across the U.S. and Canada have been targeted this week with protests and petitions that ask it to not be a "little shop of horrors" for bees. The campaign, spearheaded by Friends of the Earth, is designed to get Lowe's to eliminate products and plants that are treated with neonicotinoid pesticides, which some consider harmful to bees. The world's bee population has been dying by the billions in recent years, and some experts point to pesticide use as a major contributing factor. 

The connected home space is getting crowded with Staples Connect, the newest platform looking to simplify peoples’ lives by putting them in constant contact with their home or business. Staples plans to roll out its Staples Connect home automation platform to 500 stores and will offer lower prices on the Connect Hub and feature new wearable products and support from some big technology names. Staples Connect was introduced in the fall of 2013 in select stores and online as a home and office automation platform, competing with Google's Nest, Lowe's Iris system and Home Depot's new Wink platform.

Some of the nation's largest retailers are banding together in hopes of protecting consumers' personal and financial information from hackers and thieves. The Retail Industry Leaders Association, along with several top retailers, like Gap and Walgreens, on Wednesday opened an intelligence-sharing center focused on the prevention of cybercrimes against retailers. According to the retail group, the center will allow retailers to share

Publishing content is a unique breed of marketing and promotion. Unlike traditional means such as banner ads, live events, offers, etc., content marketing isn't directly promotional. Rather, it's about coming up with content that informs, entertains or inspires your audience. So how exactly can you use content marketing to your advantage? Below are a few best practices and examples of what you can do to take your e-commerce content marketing to the next level:

Lowe's, one of the largest home improvement retailers in the U.S., has agreed to pay a penalty of $500,000 for the violation of rules related to minimizing exposure of lead dust during renovations. Lowe's has also agreed to implement a compliance program at its more than 1,700 stores. The U.S Justice Department and Environmental Protection Agency said Lowe's will implement a compliance program nationwide to ensure its contractors minimize lead dust from home renovation activities, as required by the Federal Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule.

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