Do Customers Prioritize Energy Efficiency in the Shopping Process?

Posted by Lauren Bell on May 12, 2016 at 5:47 PM

appliances WATCH customer interviews.

We've been talking to consumers all over the country about buying appliances:

  • The process.
  • How they handle it.
  • What they look for.
  • How they relate it to energy efficiency.

WATCH some of the clips here. We also heard: 

  • “There are a lot of things we’d like to do, but it’s too overwhelming.” -Homeowner
  • I get a headache watching all those TVs with the same channel on... It’s mind boggling.” -Homeowner
  • Customers end up confusing themselves. They’re just looking at this sea of refrigerators…” -Owner of Appliance Store

Besides for providing Tylenol to the customers shopping for TVs... How do we sell efficiency in a way that simplifies this overly complicated shopping experience? (Shopping should be fun, especially if it’s something that will directly improve your home… Right?!)

We need to address consumer demands as a package deal. We need to understand that people are not solely seeking energy efficiency. They’re seeking an end result through a unique list of features. And energy efficiency is merely one of them.

A few months ago, I was in the market for a new car, so forgive the car analogy, but it’s interesting to compare these two industries. What do people want most out of a car?

  • Good mileage
  • Good price
  • Safety everything
  • The perfect style
  • Enough space for the car seat(s) (and the dog!)
  • TVs to entertain the kids
  • Sirius radio (I’m a commuter!)
  • Will the golf clubs / surfboards / skis fit? (with the car seats.. and the dog... and the cooler?) 

The list is unique for each of us. But no one’s list is strictly based on mileage. Or efficiency. It’s one of many features.

We have to recognize this, in order to simplify the appliance buying process. (Car companies have nailed this. Remember this ad?)

ENERGY STAR also serves as a terrific example.

What we admire most: The brand addresses consumer demands.

Did you know the actual certification criteria for ENERGY STAR respond to some of customers’ top barriers when it comes to EE program participation and/or purchases?

Among others, certified products must meet these requirements:

  • “… Offer savings on energy bills without sacrificing performance, features, and comfort.”
  • “… Deliver the features and performance demanded by consumers, in addition to increased energy efficiency.”

The little blue label is a strong example of what a brand promise should be when inspiring the EE customer to act. The ENERGY STAR “guarantee” is centered around what your customer wants, and that’s more than just a promise for a lower energy bill.

Are you responsive to consumer demands? Are customers satisfied with your current “promises” and messaging? Or are you focused on only one “promise” and expecting customers to take action?


KSV is a woman-owned and B Corp certified marketing and advertising agency focused in energy, sustainability and the connected home. Founded almost 40 years ago, KSV has offices in New York, Vermont and Rhode Island. 

Lauren Bell / Senior Engagement Strategist / / 212.366.4000

Topics: Customer-Centric Marketing, Utility Communications, Energy Efficiency, Research