Do utility marketplaces get less effective over time?

By Ryan King on

Man looking at package

After having a marketplace for years, even a decade, many utilities wonder if the ecommerce site gets less effective over time. Have all your customers visited and purchased an energy-saving device that ever will? 

To get to the bottom of these questions, the Uplight Insights team looked at annual revenue and ecommerce conversion rate, ultimately finding that the age of a marketplace doesn’t have a bearing on performance. In the below graph, we compare revenue to the revenue of the first year for marketplaces. While there is variance, the data shows that marketplace age doesn’t lead to any consistent growth trends (up or down). In fact, many marketplaces have continued upward, impressive growth over time.

MP revenue growth

What contributes to marketplace performance?

Instead, we found that other factors contribute to performance including macroeconomic trends, rebate levels, promotional schedules, and product mix. Calendar years are influenced by overall macroeconomic factors, and have an outsized impact on performance compared to age. In this graph, the two periods between July 2019-June 2020 and July 2021-June 2022 show the largest increases with more modest increases before and after.

Marketplace revenue growth

Similarly, Marketplace conversion showed no correlation with age.

Conversion based on Marketplace age

The economy will ebb and flow. In contrast to the high sales of the pandemic in 2020, consumers in 2023 are watching their wallets–and this is true for all retailers, not just utilities. Luxury brands and premium products are alive and well for more affluent consumers while price-conscious consumers are always on the lookout for discounts and deals. 

Recession-proofing your marketplace

However, utilities aren’t dependent on market whims and can recession-proof their Marketplace performance with proven tactics. To continue delivering strong Marketplace results, utilities can provide incentives, diversify their product offerings, and leverage promotions.

Budget for high rebates

Uplight has found that offering rebates between $75 and $98.99 or more can increase thermostat sales by 160% compared to offering a $50-$74.00 rebate. This can help more budget-minded consumers afford energy-saving devices.

Thermostat rebates 2023

We also found that conversion rates with rebates on advanced power strips and dehumidifiers increased by 130% and 136%, respectively, when turned on.

Advanced power strip conversion

dehumidifier conversion

Increase product offering

Many utilities start with a limited product mix, focusing on lighting and smart thermostats. We’ve seen our clients offer combination kits, water-saving kits, air purifiers, EV chargers, and more to help round out their mix. 

Leverage promotions

Marketing is an essential part of any successful marketplace. Utilities can utilize a combination of Uplight, utility, and OEM marketing channels and budgets to create compelling offers both in and outside of high promotional periods such as Black Friday/Cyber Monday and Earth Day. 

 

Marketplace performance is not dependent on age, but external and internal factors. While the economy is beyond any utility or retailer’s control, there are several levers to use to maximize performance in any environment, helping utilities reach savings, decarbonization, electrification, customer satisfaction, and other utility outcomes.

 

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