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Helping Customers Weather the Recession with Marketplace

By Crystal Leaver on

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The rising costs of goods and services are wreaking havoc on customers’ wallets and lives. Energy costs are outpacing high inflation, with the average residential electric rate up 15.8% from a year ago. As a result, consumers have less discretionary income overall.  

Utilities can help customers save energy and money through Marketplaces by giving customers free or heavily discounted energy-saving products such as LED light bulbs, smart power strips, smart thermostats, and even more energy-efficient appliances. These products help customers keep saving well beyond their purchases. 

Moving beyond LEDs and smart thermostats

Uplight clients have also recently added water heaters, connected home products, and air purifiers to their Marketplaces, alongside associated rebates and discounts to help customers save even more. This expanded product selection can be targeted at those who have already upgraded their lighting or thermostat. 

Increasing savings through partnerships and Offer Centers

Uplight helps our utility clients find support from device manufacturers to provide additional marketing, boost rebate values, and even give free gifts with program enrollment. Another way to deliver free products is to launch an Offer Center (previously called Giveaway Hub) to give away energy-saving products or kits without tax or shipping costs. Offer Centers are an effective way to target and reach low-to-moderate income (LMI) customers. Because of one Midwestern utility, a family of four with an annual income of $55,500 can save $247 by replacing 6 incandescent bulbs with LED bulbs they received from their utility’s Enrollment Center. This is equal to about 1.5 weeks of groceries or rent.

Starting the holidays a little bit sooner

Uplight has seen the shopping season expand, with customers looking for deals much earlier. A few years ago, promotions were concentrated during the traditional Black Friday and Cyber Monday period, but this year we are starting promotions well before Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This will bring deals on energy-saving products to the top of customers’ minds while highlighting the instant rebates and discounts available.

So far, the extended promotional period has been successful. Uplight ramped up thermostat promotions in August 2022 on many of our utility Marketplaces to help get ahead of any potential holiday slowdowns–resulting in 139% of forecasted revenue for August. And the discounts aren’t going away. Uplight Marketplaces will feature sales on smart thermostats, lighting, or both throughout the fourth quarter. 

Cross-promoting to boost sales

Connecting Marketplace with other channels and programs also helps utilities yield success by increasing the places where a customer sees what’s available and in turn, increasing Marketplace visits and uptake. Placing a link with offer information on customer portals, Home Energy Reports, Residential Online Assessments, and landing pages can help boost visits through a more seamless customer journey and higher sales. And linking products to enrollment can also help get to utility outcomes, faster. By offering a deep discount on a smart thermostat, Uplight has found a 3X increase in demand response enrollments as well as additional savings and grid flexibility.

Utilities can help customers both now and in the future save money and energy through their Marketplaces–with little to no investment needed by the customer. By helping customers obtain free or discounted products and enroll in relevant programs, utilities are also strengthening the customer relationship and increasing customer satisfaction. 

 

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