Selling more with Whirlpool
Adding connectivity to Whirlpool appliances is transforming the company’s relationship with customers. Connected washer and dryers provide exciting new features like remote management of start times to reduce energy costs and inter-machine communication to optimize fabric care and cleaning performance. Traditionally, Whirlpool interaction with customers was limited to purchases made once every ten years (the typical home appliance lifecycle).
In the new connected appliance model, Whirlpool has regular engagement with customers and can learn how they use their products. This allows the company to continually improve its products, help consumers optimize appliance use, and create new channels to continually and directly interact with and sell to customers.
In 2010, Whirlpool won a U.S. Department of Energy grant to design and build appliances compatible with the Smart Grid. As part of their participation, Whirlpool partnered with Arrayent (now Prodea) to bring connectivity to their new Smart Grid appliances. Whirlpool chose Arrayent as its IoT platform partner for a few key reasons:
- The Arrayent IoT Services Platform provided a low-cost, low-latency, and high reliability platform that dramatically reduced time to market for a new set of connected appliances.
- Prodea’s Arrayent platform was customer-proven, with Chamberlain, LiftMaster, Mattel, Pentair, and others as production customers.
“There are companies that claim to have a low latency, scalable connectivity platform to connect consumer products to smart-phone apps. Arrayent is delivering it” said Warwick Stirling, Senior Director Energy and Sustainability of Whirlpool. Within six months of initiating development, Whirlpool was able to demonstrate four connected products that met the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DoE) Smart Grid first requirement milestone. Six months after that, Whirlpool met the second DoE milestone with delivery of four additional connected appliances.
Whirlpool has discovered the tremendous value of having connected customers. Consumers have shown greater interest in convenience features (such as receiving text message alerts when a fridge has been open for more than five minutes) than anticipated. And by reducing purchases to a single button click, Whirlpool’s new app reduces the friction involved in purchasing water filters, fabric care products, and other high-margin consumables.
North America, Europe, South America