While many home improvement retailers are adept at catering to the needs of their community, they may need to look into an opportunity in the plumbing and electrical departments to build deeper connections. Making an extra effort to help customers identify and purchase eco-friendly products already in your inventory will show that your business is committed to preserving our natural resources. Added visibility is a simple way to support consumers looking for ways to conserve water and energy. However, just as important, these products can save them money.
Notably, 75 percent of millennials say they’re willing to pay a premium for eco-friendly brands and products. This is good news for retailers ready to expand their inventory or promote shopping experiences supporting prevalent causes with consumers. It should be noted this willingness to pay more for certain products is true across generations. According to a Field Agent Survey, consumers are concerned about how their purchases impact the environment.
- 89 percent of Baby Boomers are concerned
- 85 percent of all shoppers are concerned
- 37 percent of shoppers are extremely concerned
The good news is that a long list of plumbing and electrical products can help customers be eco-friendly or go green. Most are essential, everyday items that are not intimidating or overwhelming for a person of average skills to install. However, this does not exclude new technology specifically designed to conserve water or electricity.
How You Can Support Customers and Generate Sales
Start by letting customers know what products you stock that are eco-friendly. Reach shoppers online by dedicating a page of your website to the benefits of being eco-friendly and listing the plumbing and electrical products you sell online and in-store. Posting the U.S. Government Home Energy checklist (created by the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy) and guide to dimmable lights will be helpful to consumers and generate traffic for your website.
Enhance the In-store Experience
Ask your sales team to direct shoppers to eco-friendly products. This interaction can be as simple as providing customers with a list that indicates the aisle in which the product is located or placing hanging files with consumer literature in highly-visible locations in the plumbing and electrical departments. Customers will find this information beneficial and recognize that your store is proactively saving energy. Consider partnering with a local energy agency that conducts free home energy audits.
The average family uses 115,00 to 175,000 gallons of water a year. That’s a lot of water. Plumbing products that reduce water consumption may include toilet repair kits, low-flow showerheads, faucet aerators, hot water pipe insulation, and water filters. These are low-cost products that only require a little explanation to sell.
Toilets use 27 percent of water in the household and are a primary source of water loss. The average person uses the toilet a minimum of 3 times a day. The newer low-flow toilets have a powerful flush and save about 70 percent, or 3.2 gallons of water, compared to their 5-gallon counterparts. A family of four that upgrades to a low-flow toilet will save 13,000 gallons of water annually.
Consider promoting water heaters if they are readily available through a supplier or stocked in your inventory. Options include electric models that are 100 percent efficient and transfer 100 percent of energy to water. Tankless gas models are 98 percent efficient and can reduce heating costs by 35 percent. Consumers may also want to purchase more popular types of gas water heaters. These are less efficient than the tankless version by 62 percent. However, hybrid models can offer 98 percent efficiency. Tank models are easy to install and relatively inexpensive compared to electric or tankless gas models.
When it comes to electrical products, labels matter. Seventy-four percent of consumers look for the EnergyStar® label on products, and 70 percent look for products advertised as highly efficient. EnergyStar says replacing a home’s four most frequently used light fixtures or bulbs with EnergyStar-approved products will save $45 annually.
Products consumers consider to be both eco-friendly and affordable are compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs), light-emitting diodes (LEDs), energy-efficient outlets with timers, ceiling fans, light fixtures, decorative string lights, and outdoor lighting. These products are sold in most hardware stores and home centers. They should be included on any list you have with your customers.
Hardware Stores Have an Advantage
Plumbing and electrical products are core departments in every hardware store. These are items customers need to maintain or improve their homes. Your business is a fixture in the community, and you understand your customer’s values. Promoting eco-friendly products takes customer service to the next level.