Transferring Efficiency Confusion Into Sales of Efficient Light Bulbs

Oct. 14, 2013
How did this battery franchise profit from consumer confusion about lighting efficiency mandates and grow its sales by 15 to 20 percent?

Want to learn how to take advantage of all those government mandates calling for energy efficient products? Read on about Batteries Plus Bulbs, a battery franchise that boosted its sales by adding efficient lighting to its offerings.

Before the company added bulbs, it had a lot going for it in today’s high-tech world. The company’s stores are a haven for consumers and businesses who need what seems like impossible-to-find batteries for their electronic devices.

Every sale is an assisted sale. That means that confused consumers and businesses can talk to a real person who will explain their options and help them pick the battery that’s right for their smart phone, camera, headset, or other device, says John Twist, vice president of franchise development for Batteries Plus Bulbs.

So when the federal government mandated a switch from energy-hogging incandescent bulbs to efficient lighting, the company saw a void that it was specially suited to fill. Consumers were—and continue to be—dazed and bleary-eyed over the new efficient light bulbs. Enter Twist’s company, armed with experience helping the bleary-eyed wade through all their battery options and leave the store educated, happy, and with their electronic gadgets working.

“With the really interesting developments in the lighting industry mandated by the government and eliminating inefficient technology in favor or more efficient lighting like LEDs, we found a real void in the space. Consumers are confused. They are faced with choices about lumen output and color rendering index,” Twist says.

In 2011, the company changed its name to include the word “bulbs,” and began converting its stores.

The result? The move has added 15 percent to 20 percent to its stores’ revenues, he says. And the company was already seeing impressive growth. It has 575 stores in 46 states and Puerto Rico, and has added a store a week for the past five to six years. It expects to add 60 new stores by the end of the year.

Twist may make it sound easy, but the company’s success is based on a lot of expertise and discipline, he says.

“We’ve needed product expertise, sourcing expertise, and supply chain expertise…We need to have the right product at the right price at the right time.” And the company also needs to provide buyers with information about energy savings for each product.

In addition, the company has to follow the fast-moving lighting industry.

“LEDs are the hot growing developing product category. The LED that was the leader eight months ago may be surpassed by the latest and greatest quickly. It’s important to be ingrained in the industry and know which manufacturers are on the cutting edge,” he says.

And just what does this disciplined and well-informed lighting company recommend to homeowners? LEDs all around, says Twist.

“When LEDS were first introduced, they were directional. Over the last couple years, they have evolved into bulbs that look like the 75-watt bulb that goes in your lamp. If people were fearful of LEDs because they didn’t disperse light or if they were concerned about price, prices have come way down, the technology has changed, and the savings is real and tangible,” he says.

This type of information is critical to getting the word out about the value of efficient products. This smart company really knows how to turn bleary-eyed efficiency confusion into efficiency sales.

About the Author

Lisa Cohn | Contributing Editor

I focus on the West Coast and Midwest. Email me at [email protected]

I’ve been writing about energy for more than 20 years, and my stories have appeared in EnergyBiz, SNL Financial, Mother Earth News, Natural Home Magazine, Horizon Air Magazine, Oregon Business, Open Spaces, the Portland Tribune, The Oregonian, Renewable Energy World, Windpower Monthly and other publications. I’m also a former stringer for the Platts/McGraw-Hill energy publications. I began my career covering energy and environment for The Cape Cod Times, where Elisa Wood also was a reporter. I’ve received numerous writing awards from national, regional and local organizations, including Pacific Northwest Writers Association, Willamette Writers, Associated Oregon Industries, and the Voice of Youth Advocates. I first became interested in energy as a student at Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut, where I helped design and build a solar house.

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