After all of the recent holiday shopping, the last thing people want to do is step foot in another mall. Thank goodness for gift cards and the internet! As customers make shopping decisions and look for products online, we want to make sure they have the tools to access information about energy efficient options and rebates. Below we profile five web-based platforms and resources for customers and efficiency programs.
ENERGY STAR Website
While ENERGY STAR does not sell products, it certifies high-efficiency consumer products in dozens of categories and maintains user-friendly qualified products lists that are the key building blocks to efficient product promotion. Among the various tools offered at energystar.gov are the Product Finder, APIs, and Rebate Finder. The ENERGY STAR Product Finder is a public online tool where consumers can search for and compare different products using the ENERGY STAR database. ENERGY STAR’s Rebate Finder provides a place for program administrators to feature active promotions for efficient products. More behind the scenes, ENERGY STAR has also built an open Application Program Interface (API) for efficiency programs and e-commerce stakeholders to use to connect their tools to ENERGY STAR’s database.
Energy Federation, Inc. (EFI)
EFI’s Online Store is a proactive e-commerce platform that has been promoting and distributing products for efficiency programs since 1999. Efficiency programs direct their customers to the white-labeled web portal by incorporating the Online Store into their marketing materials and campaigns. When customers are shopping in the store, EFI can verify which individuals are eligible for incentives based on simple customer information (i.e. zip code, mailing address, etc.). If eligible, the incentive is incorporated at the time of purchase. This ensures customer verification and allows for a greater attribution of savings.
In partnership with Cadmus, TechniArt has developed two types of online platforms that complement efficiency programs: Online Promotion and Limited-Time Offer. TechniArt’s online promotion feature provides a white-labeled online store for customers to engage in everyday or special promotions. Their limited-time offer campaign mirrors TechniArt’s physical pop-up stores and is heavily marketed via social media. Typically, the temporary e-tail campaigns run for 2-4 weeks. Similar to EFI’s Online Store, TechniArt specializes in items such as light bulbs, shower heads, power strips, and controls.
Simple Energy’s Marketplace
A newcomer to the efficiency program e-commerce ecosystem is the Simple Energy Marketplace, a platform that connects utilities and consumers by offering products and services with instant rebates. Simple Energy’s Marketplace is white-labeled for their utility partners; on behalf of the PA, they drive traffic using strategies such as weekly white-labeled emails with energy-saving recommendations. By using behavioral motivation and user data to tailor Simple Energy’s Marketplace product offering, Simple Energy offers individualized recommendations.
Another efficiency oriented e-commerce platform is Enervee, an integrated product recommendation platform that processes product sales, energy data, utility rate data, aggregated product reviews, and product incentives. Their tool has dynamic re-ranking capabilities, reflecting changes occurring in the market on a daily basis. Enervee is a reactive site and employs closed-loop marketing tactics to track a consumer’s online shopping journey and automatically provides information and product offerings based on search parameters and pages visited. Enervee provides customer estimates of energy bill savings to help understand the true cost of their product purchase and ranks products by translating technical efficiency metrics into a 1 to 100 scale to help make efficiency visible.
Online shopping and research has become the norm and efficiency programs are beginning to recognize this opportunity. In addition to presenting these specific platforms, the NEEP E-commerce Whitepaper discusses industry background, explores key concepts, and concludes with program recommendations. E-commerce has become commonplace, and efficiency programs in this region must exploit this opportunity; the future success of products programs depends on it.
Join NEEP for an informational webinar on e-commerce on Wednesday, January 20th at 2pm EST.