Simple Energy, the industry leader in utility-branded marketplaces, today introduced the new Rebates-as-a-Service (“RaaS”) Platform: the first platform to bring instant rebates to every place a utility’s customers make product or service purchases. RaaS allows customers to instantly validate and redeem rebates at the point of sale in both brick-and-mortar stores and other online channels.
Utilities in the US provide over $4 billion in rebates and incentives to change how their customers use energy. Rebates on products such as smart thermostats, LED lightbulbs and appliances help utilities meet their energy efficiency goals while helping customers save money. Traditionally, customers wanting a rebate were required to complete a paper form, mail in a copy of a receipt, and then wait weeks to receive their rebate in the mail.
Rebates–as–a–Service offers a better customer experience by providing instant savings at the point of sale, which increases transaction volumes, results in direct attribution and reduces program costs: a win for utilities, retailers and customers.
“In 2015, we pioneered instant rebates on energy-saving products in utility-branded marketplaces because we wanted to make the process convenient and easy,” says Simple Energy CEO Yoav Lurie. “With Rebates–as–a–Service, we’re making utility-paid instant rebates available directly at brick-and-mortar retail stores and other ecommerce websites, so customers can instantly redeem rebates in their preferred place to shop.”
Underlying Rebates–as–a–Service is the same patent-pending rebate eligibility engine that powers Simple Energy’s utility-branded marketplaces. By surfacing the engine via application programming interfaces (“APIs”), Simple Energy brings instant rebates into the point-of-sale system of its retail partners. When customers apply for a rebate, Simple Energy instantly validates eligibility by matching the customer-entered data with utility datasets—providing instant rebates for customers and 100% auditability for utilities.
Simple Energy began to deploy Rebates-as-a-Service with select utility and retail partners earlier this year in limited pilots. Given the strong results, they’re ready for a full, public rollout. “Our utility partners, like ComEd and Xcel Energy, have seen substantial increases in their rebate redemptions by bringing rebates to their customers wherever they choose to shop,” Lurie explains.
Over 2,000 Stores and Leading Websites – Leading manufacturers and retailers have been quick to adopt the new technology. At launch, Simple Energy counts multiple retailers and manufacturers as partners — including Lowe’s (in-store and at Lowes.com), Nest (via nest.com), ecobee (via ecobee.com) and ABT.com. More retailers are expected to be announced later in the year.
15,000,000 Eligible Customers – Utilities have also been quick to adopt Rebates-as-a-Service. Many of Simple Energy’s Marketplace customers have already implemented the service. At launch, Rebates-as-a-Service is eligible to more than 15,000,000 customers in half a dozen states.
Real Customer Results – The integrations are already proving to add real value for customers. Recently, ComEd customer Gene Ivano of Elk Grove Village, Illinois, was looking for a better way to control the temperature of his home, following the birth of his first child. “I was looking for a way to control my home’s temperature. With ComEd’s generous incentive offered at Nest.com, I was able to get a great product at an incredible price. Giving customers instant rebates in the places where we already shop is a great way for utilities to show that they appreciate their customers,” Ivano said.
In-Store Innovation – Rebates-as-a-Service is also the first and only solution to provide instant rebates at brick-and-mortar retail locations where many customers buy energy-saving appliances. Xcel Energy deployed RaaS in Colorado Lowe’s stores and at lowes.com to increase adoption of energy efficient evaporative coolers. Customers validate their eligibility via a smartphone and generate a bar code that is scanned at checkout.
Proven Results – Rebates-as-a-Service is already having substantial results. “RaaS rebates already account for over 30 percent of the online rebates we process,” Lurie notes. In-store, the results have been even more impressive. “Lowe’s stores in Colorado saw three times as many evaporative coolers rebated in five weeks of the program as they saw in the previous three months.”
Engaging Hard-to-Engage Customers – Rebates-as-a-Service especially appeals to customers who don’t typically engage with their utility. To date, over 70% of the customers to come through RaaS did not previously have a digital account with their utility. For utilities, RaaS offers a cost-effective way of engaging hard-to-reach customers, increasing the number of digitally engaged customers, and reducing overall cost-to-serve.
WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING ABOUT REBATES-AS-A-SERVICE
Customers, utilities, manufacturers, and retailers all love Rebates-as-a-Service.
Here’s what they’re saying:
Customers love the ease of getting instant rebates where they’re already shopping:
“I love when companies empower customers. Giving us an instant rebate in the places where we already shop is a great way for utilities to show that they appreciate their customers.”
- Gene Ivano, Elk Grove Village, Illinois
Utilities love that they experience higher rebate redemptions, greater customer satisfaction, and lower cost when a customer takes advantage of instant rebates:
“ComEd set a goal of getting 100,000 smart thermostats into the homes of our customers in 2017. Rebates-as-a-Service allows us to expose our existing smart thermostat rebates as instant rebates in the places where our customers were already making purchase decisions.”
- Val Jensen, Senior Vice President, Customer Operations, ComEd
“Xcel Energy is focused on delivering the best customer experience possible. Providing customers with an instant rebate at the point of purchase simplifies the customer experience and helps customers make the best decision possible. Rebates-as-a-Service delivers rebates directly to customers where they want to shop, like a home improvement store.”
- Carolyn Elam, Supervisor, Residential Product Portfolio Management, Xcel Energy
Manufacturers and Retailers
Manufacturers and retailers love lowering the cost of energy efficiency products:
“The Nest Learning Thermostat is designed to be intuitive and easy to use; that’s a guiding principle for us. When we partnered with Simple Energy to integrate their APIs into Nest.com, we set out to create an experience that was seamless for the customer; from validation to redemption to purchase.”
- Jeff Hamel, Head of Energy Partnerships, Nest Labs
“A.O. Smith is truly excited by the opportunities that instant utility sponsored rebates bring to the water heater market. These instant rebates lower the price points on high efficiency products at the time of purchase making them affordable for more consumers”
- Brandon Stepanek, National Marketing Manager, A. O. Smith