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Providing Value to Customers Through Marketplace During COVID-19

By Shannon Oleynik on

Mom on a video call

We’ve now had a couple of weeks to gather data and insights into how customers’ behavior is changing around utility Marketplaces during the COVID-19 pandemic. On April 9th, Uplight representatives Indran Ratnathicam, SVP Marketing & Strategy, Kristen Kadetsky, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Courtney Staufer, Director of Consumer Marketing and Anthony LaRosa, Senior Digital Marketing Manager joined 15 of our utility partners from ten different utilities to discuss how we can continue to provide value to customers through Marketplaces during this challenging time. 

What we’ve seen over these past few weeks suggests that customers are still looking to utilities as trusted energy advisors — perhaps even more so now. Many utilities are offering additional incentives on energy efficiency products and these  have been positively received, indicating that customers are open to, and even seeking out, these options and support on utility Marketplaces. 

Here are some additional insights that came out of Uplight’s Working Group conversation: 

High-Performing Marketplace Campaigns Highlight Increased Customer Engagement  

At Uplight, we’ve seen some of the most successful ecommerce results of 2020 in the past three weeks that utilities have turned email campaigns back on during the COVID-19 pandemic. Spikes in transactions, users, new users, and conversion rates have been reassuring signs for utilities as they think about their relationship with their customers in this new reality. 

Messaging: Commitments to Comfort, Control, and Community 

Messaging adjustments are unique for every utility but, overall, Uplight research shows that ‘comfort’ and ‘control’ messages are performing well right now. Many utilities have made adjustments to highlight how Marketplace products can help customers lower energy bills when their energy usage is going up. As always, a strong offer remains an essential component of campaign success – campaigns promoting low or no-cost smart thermostats performed exceptionally well in March and April. One participant shared that his utility added a bill donation capability to monthly bills so that customers have the option to help others struggling to pay their bills. 

Connecting Energy Saving Tips with Marketplace 

Across the board, utilities are interested in sharing energy efficiency tips that focus on how customers can leverage certain products to reduce energy spend. Several are adjusting Marketplace messaging to build a direct link between products and the energy efficiency outcomes they can deliver. The goal is to emphasize how smart products, such as thermostats and lighting, can help customers lower energy use and keep bills down. 

Increasing Affordability: Critical to Continuing to Provide Customer Value

Several participants mentioned that they are increasing program rebates outright or have pulled rebates forward to provide additional customer value during the pandemic. In some cases, manufacturers have shown real willingness to participate,  offering additional incentives to get more low or no-cost thermostats into the hands of customers. 

Concluding Thoughts 

All regions and territories are unique — this pandemic is affecting everyone and every utility differently, and what is right for one utility is not right for another. We look forward to continuing to learn from our utility partners on how they are serving their customers via Marketplaces during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Join the discussion!  Uplight is hosting another Working Group Session specifically focused on COVID-19’s effects on energy use and TOU rate programs, and how we can adapt our Orchestrated Energy solution to support program changes throughout the year. Please reach out to community@uplight.com if you’re interested in joining.

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COVID-19

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