Lighting control rebates going strong
Lighting rebates hit a record of sorts in 2016.
Commercial lighting rebates covered 79% of the United States, according to BriteSwitch, which is a record high since the rebate processing company began measuring rebate coverage nine years ago.
The company cited several reasons for the historic high, including that many programs replenished their rebate funds in January. Also, some large programs that ran out of money years ago have come back such as FirstEnergy in Ohio and Duquesne Light in Pennsylvania.
In 2016, many rebate programs began to focus more heavily on LED products, a trend that is continuing in 2017. Last year, only 10 utilities were providing prescriptive rebates for LED lamps meant to replace HID screw-in bulbs, which are frequently used in high bay or outdoor lighting applications. This year, the number of utilities jumped to 116.
The rebate amounts for these bulbs can be significant, according to BriteSwitch.
“On average the prescriptive rebate is currently $110 per bulb, the company said. “That amount does not take into account though the various cost caps that programs often have to limit the overall rebate at a percentage of material or project cost.”
To read more on lighting rebate trends and average rebate amounts, click here.
Survey: Consumers like technology — if they are in control
Consumers feel good about some — but not all — retail technologies.
That’s according to a new study by Oracle, Retail 2025, which reveals that consumers are most willing to engage brands with new technology if they feel that they are in control of their experience.
"Consumers clearly indicated that they have a conservative appetite for retail technologies that requires deep personal data and make decisions on their behalf," said Mike Webster, senior VP and general manager at Oracle Retail and Oracle Hospitality. "This signals brands to focus on building a strong foundation to win trust.”
In the survey, consumers expressed warm attitudes toward utilizing virtual reality and receiving recommendations for custom-made accessories produced with 3D printing points. This show their willingness to adopt new technologies — if they are in control of their experience, Webster said.
Artificial intelligence, virtual reality and the Internet of Things present the opportunity to better anticipate consumers' next purchase, the study noted. But establishing a strong foundation of trust is critical to success when rolling out new experiences to consumers. But if brands over step, the reaction can be visceral, Oracle warned.
For example, 54% of survey respondents indicated that having a grocer automatically charge and ship items based on purchase history, social and environmental data was invasive. And 57% find apparel recommendations from robots based on their social media profile invasive.
In other survey findings:
• Sixty-four percent of respondents liked the option of using virtual reality to navigate a personalized in-store experience and having a hand-picked wardrobe to try on in-store.
• Fifty-eight percent of consumers indicated a positive attitude toward the idea of having their grocer suggest a shopping list for their approval based on purchase history, social and environmental data.
• Sixty-seven percent of consumers like the option of near real-time delivery to their doorstep by drones.
• Sixty-four percent of consumers responded favorably to the concept having a retailer suggest a custom-made accessory for them produced with 3D printing.
The report found that consumers are wary about volunteering data necessary for personalization but still look for a tailored experience, reinforcing the need for stronger brand relationships.
• Fifty-four percent of respondents viewed the concept of linking their wearable activity tracker to their pharmacy so they can suggest products to meet specific health and wellness needs as favorable.
• Seventy-eight percent of respondents favor the option of having detailed information about product components (e.g., cotton, spandex, etc.) and their origin prior to purchase.
• Forty-six percent of respondents indicated that receiving real-time alerts on current product recalls, and time since last recall by a manufacturer, based on previous purchase history would improve their experience.
The Retail 2025 Report results provide a benchmark for where consumers are on the retail technology adoption lifecycle and the impact on retail in the next eight years.
Fine jeweler to launch discount model
The nation’s largest family-owned and operated retail jewelry chain is opening its first-ever outlet stores.
Rogers & Hollands Jewelers will launch a discount store prototype, Rogers & Hollands Outlet, this April. Two Rogers & Hollands stores in the Chicago area, one at North Riverside Park Mall and one at Golf Mill Shopping Center, will be rebranded, remodeled and reopened under the new banner.
“We feel that the Outlet concept is a very good fit and will better meet the needs of our customers in these areas," said Amber Willmer, director of social & digital marketing, Rogers Enterprises, which operates 81 stores under the names of Rogers & Hollands Jewelers and Ashcroft & Oak Jewelers across 10 states.
The company noted that any warranties previously purchased at these stores will remain valid and can continue to be maintained there.
Rogers & Hollands Outlet stores will feature jewelry from across a wide range of categories, including engagement rings, wedding bands, earrings, necklaces, bracelets, watches and more. All merchandise will be discounted at least 50% off regular retail prices, and watches — including designer-named timepieces — will be priced at a minimum of 35% off retail.
The merchandise offered at Rogers & Hollands Outlet will be unique to it and not available other Rogers & Hollands' stores.