Bulbs.com envisions a brighter future with private-label LEDs
October 23, 2015 10:00 AM
Bulbs.com CEO Mike Connors sees sockets: many, many light sockets occupied by incandescent, fluorescent, halogen and other “legacy technology” and all ripe for replacement with LED bulbs. That’s why online-only lighting supplies seller Bulbs.com is adding private-label LED bulbs to its product catalog.
“We’re still vastly undersupplied with LEDs, but the world is starting to make that switch because LED (light-emitting diode) performance is so much better now,” Connors says. “Our customers wanted a better LED value alternative with the same quality as name-brand manufacturers.”
Two bulbs launched the LED line in September: an Energy Star-rated dimmable 10-watt BR30 LED, a floodlight-type bulb that generates as much light as most 65-watt incandescent bulbs; and an Energy Star-rated dimmable 9-watt A19 LED, which replaces a standard 60-watt incandescent. Bulbs.com, No. 562 in the Internet Retailer 2015 Second 500 Guide, will offer a non-dimmable A19 LED bulb later this year.
Bulbs.com brand bulbs cost 10%-20% less than manufacturers’ brands, which the company will continue to carry and promote because those brands are known for their names and quality, Connors says. Bulbs.com expects to sell about 100,000 of its private-label LEDs by the end of year, with more products likely in 2016. “We look at which items have a lot of movement and are recognized as a value by our customers. Putting out the highest-velocity items helps us with our own branding,” Connors says.
It took about four months for the Worcester, Mass., company, which does 15% of its sale direct to consumers and the rest with other businesses, to decide on a manufacturer and develop packaging, Connors said. “It wasn’t so much a development project as it was about volume—getting to a point where we could, with a single SKU, fill a container. The BR30 and A19 bulbs are high-velocity SKUs that we can buy in those quantities,” he said. Bulbs.com brand bulbs are made in China.
In August, Bulbs.com introduced a line of LED bulbs from Sengled with built-in speakers and Wi-Fi extenders. Coming soon, Connors says, are recessed can lights with built-in cameras.