The oh-so-vast and ever-expanding universe of consumer electronics presents myriad opportunities for energy efficiency programs—and as many challenges. More products, more options, and frequent innovations mean more potential energy savings. But how do you keep up with issues related to technology evolution? How do you collaborate effectively with retailers to increase sales of efficient products? How do you do you know which marketing tactics will successfully engage consumers?
The Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance’s (NEEA) Consumer Electronics Television Initiative leveraged retailer incentives and consumer marketing to increase the number of efficient televisions in retailer product assortments and raise demand for and sales of qualifying models. Research Into Action conducted three consecutive evaluations of this effort to assess the impacts of initiative implementation and marketing activities on retailer and consumer behavior, as well as the sales of qualified televisions.
While research objectives evolved over time in tandem with the initiative itself, all three evaluations sought to assess the initiative’s impacts on:
- Retailer behavior, including their television assortments and promotion of qualified products, as well as sales associates’ behaviors, motivations, and customer interactions;
- Consumer behavior in response to program marketing activities, such as point-of-purchase (POP), an in-store video, and a full campaign in 2012; and
- Sales of qualified televisions.
What we did
The evaluations employed a range of qualitative research activities, including: in-depth interviews with corporate-level retail staff, store managers, and manufacturers; store visits; mystery shopping; and ride-alongs with regional outreach staff. We then analyzed retailer-provided sales data and used a multi-level, fixed-effect regression model to identify the relationship between assortment and sales. The team also helped NEEA develop and analyze results of an experimental design test to isolate the influence of various in-store interventions, including POP materials and a video.
The research found the initiative influenced the TV market at both the national and regional levels, and by 2015 little opportunity remained for NEEA to intervene. We recommended NEEA’s future midstream efforts target product categories for which energy savings can provide a meaningful, consumer-facing selling point. The study also revealed the importance of in-store activities, such as video, POP, and sales associate training, for midstream efforts.
In January 2014, NEEA introduced the next evolution of the initiative, the Retail Products Portfolio, which includes a portfolio of qualified energy-efficient retail products. To support this effort, we are calculating an assortment-based baseline to further quantify impacts on assortment.