That decline is larger than the multichannel retailer’s overall 5.8% sales decline.
The primarily B2B seller of lighting products has begun allowing commercial customers to lease LED lights for orders of $5,000 or more. That way, clients don’t need to pay as much upfront and, in most cases, the monthly energy savings should cover the payments, Bulbs.com says.
Web-only lighting supplies seller Bulbs.com has launched a leasing program for commercial customers to spread their payments for LED lighting products over several months. That allows customers to test the expensive lights before completing a purchase—the minimum order value to participate in the program is $5,000. It also makes the investment more affordable, as the monthly energy savings from installing LEDs should cover the monthly payments for most customers, says Bulbs.com vice president of sales and marketing Robert Kernweis.
To sign up for the program, which Bulbs.com calls the Hassle-Free Leasing Program, clients must call a Bulbs.com representative at the number listed on its web site and then wait 24-48 hours for an approval. “There are many considerations in regards to bulb application and lease fulfillment, so for now we feel the most effective communication is over the phone,” Kernweis says.
The leasing program, launched last month, follows another program Bulbs introduced in October, Buy ‘N’ Try, that allows business customers to test out a variety of LED bulbs before investing in many of them. The company ships those customers test bulbs for free. If the bulbs don’t work out, it will also pay for the return shipping, refund the price and waive the restocking fee, it says. Like in the Hassle-Free Leasing Program, customers must call Bulbs.com to sign up for Buy ‘N’ Try. “Both programs address potential hesitations about purchasing LEDs in different ways,” Kernweis says.
He adds that Bulbs has received a “steady level of interest” in the new programs from customers, but did not disclose the number of orders.
About 85% of Bulbs.com’s sales are to municipalities and small and midsized businesses in the hospitality, retail, property management, health care, manufacturing and education fields, with the remaining sales to consumers, Kernweis says. As such, the company provides several web site tools and services specifically to help business customers in purchasing. For example, B2B customers may sign up for a free Pro Business Account on Bulbs.com to receive volume discount pricing, assistance from a dedicated lighting specialist, a line of credit and use of BulbTrack, a tool for storing and looking up the products they’ve ordered by location, Kernweis says. The site also has an online learning center, a tool called BulbFinder that helps customers select the right bulb in a step-by-step process, and an energy savings calculator.
Established in 1999, Bulbs.com says it provides lighting products to more than 125,000 commercial customers operating across 300,000 locations. The company is No. 540 in the 2013 Internet Retailer Second 500 Guide, a ranking of companies by web sales.
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