A decade ago, the Aberdeen, Wa. location of Columbia Electric Supply, a CED Industrial Solutions Network partner, faced the closure of eight industrial accounts with a substantial impact on the business. To help establish marketplace differentiation, they made a commitment to focus on energy efficient lighting sales and retrofits.
The move helped bring the store back to profitability, and efficient lighting and kilowatt savings continue to be an integral offering for customers of the Aberdeen location today.
As part of CED Columbia Division’s partnership with the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, the Aberdeen location changed its stocking practices in September 2016 to sell more efficient 28-watt T8 lamps instead of the less sustainable 32-watt versions. Store manager Rhonda Kennedy reports that the switch was simple to execute, and today, the store only has one box of 32-watt T8s in its entire inventory.
How Did They Do It?
Kennedy understands the hesitation staff can have at first when making a product switch because people—both customers and sales staff—are always more comfortable with what they know. These are the steps that helped CED Aberdeen make the switch easy and profitable:
• Make the Decision for the Customer:
Staff knew they couldn’t ease customers into switching to 28-watt T8 lamps. If the store still gave customers the option to buy 32-watt lamps, customers would just opt for what they’re familiar with. “To make this as simple as possible, we made the 28-watt T8 our only recommendation right out of the gate,” Kennedy stated.
• Put Up a Comparison Display:
Both inside and outside of the store, poster-size versions of an infographic showing the benefits of low-watt T8s are prominently displayed. Right next to them, the store has an 8-ft. fixture that holds four 4-ft. lamps to show 32- and 28-watt T8 lamps side by side. The fixture holds two new 32-watt 4000 and 5000K lamps, next to two 4000 and 5000K 28-watt lamps. Kennedy noted that when customers looked up at the display, they couldn’t tell the difference in light quality or color.
• Show them the Savings:
It’s important to let customers know how much they can save when they replace with 28-watt lamps. “When you take a room or a school that has up to 150 lamps to replace and we calculate the kWh savings, it’s a no-brainer for the customers given how much we can save them on their utility bill over time,” she said.
Aberdeen Location Customer Successes
Five Star Dealerships:
For car dealerships, lighting plays an important role—showroom lighting needs to be just right to best display the vehicles. When Five Star Dealerships came to CED Aberdeen, staff recommended 28-watt T8s but Five Star’s maintenance supervisor was concerned there would be a noticeable difference, particularly with the color of the lamps. Staff gave him a test kit of six 28-watt lamps to see if there was a noticeable difference on the show floor. The supervisor came back a week later and was convinced—he switched the showrooms across multiple dealerships to 28-watt lamps.
Aberdeen School District:
As a large customer for the Aberdeen store, the district buys several pallets of lamps at a time. When CED recommended low-watt T8 lamps to the district facilities manager, he was wary at first—but sales staff told him to try the lamps, promising to take them all back if he noticed any difference. Since then, the school district has bought more than 1,200 28-watt T8 lamps to date, and is happy with their cost savings and light quality.
CED Corporate Embraces Low-Wattage T8s Across its Divisions
In addition to kicking off the Reduced Wattage Lamp Replacement initiative with its Columbia division, CED’s corporate headquarters is also utilizing this program in its Cascade division, and planning to do the same with its Big Sky division