Increased levels of clean, locally generated electricity and rapid technological change mean that customers want better and fairer solutions for their power. In order to stay relevant and not get left behind, electricity retailers need to reinvent their relationships with customers.
Customers want and expect more
Customers are becoming more concerned about their power bills and are investing more and more into technologies that allow them to better manage their electricity use such as rooftop solar, batteries, and other tools that allow them to monitor and control household appliances. Modern customers also care about more than just themselves, and are looking for ways to be part of the solution to global energy problems, rather than adding to the problem.
The dramatic and continued drop in costs of technologies like solar PV has also impacted energy markets with on-site, utility or community-scale generation projects now becoming a genuine option for commercial and community organisations.
The challenge then, for retailers, is to work out how to fit into this changing environment and provide customers with what they want.
This new generation of energy customer wants things like:
- Freedom to pick and choose how they interact with the energy market to make it work for them and their lifestyle
- Accessibility to see their usage and daily charges via phone apps
- Community sharing to make a positive difference
Challenges represent opportunities too: reinvent customer-retailer relationships
Our Energy works in partnership with retailers and customers to bridge the gap between the old retail model and new customer expectations.
For example, Our Energy’s Lemonade is a white label tool for retailers – a digital marketplace which creates virtual local energy markets that operate alongside traditional systems.
Lemonade allows customers to buy, sell or gift clean, local energy with their community, and helps retailers improve acquisition and retention results in a rapidly changing business environment Lemonade provides customers with a digital experience that is simple, accessible and transparent at no additional cost. Delivered under a software-as-a-service model, a retailer adopting Lemonade retains its customer, billing and market reconciliation responsibilities.
A community affair
Lemonade’s focus is on tying individuals into actual communities, not virtual ones. For example, families can gift energy from their home solar system to their child’s school, buy energy from the community wind or solar farm, sell energy to neighbours or give it as a fundraiser prize for a local club.
By building communities of customers, Lemonade can help retailers in two key ways:
- Firmly aligns the brand with the values and behaviours of a new and expanding generation of customers; freedom, accessibility and community
- By making customers ‘stickier’, allowing them to choose community over commodity. Being part of a community makes them more reluctant to switch as they won’t just be leaving a retailer, but their community as well.
- By partnering with Our Energy, and putting communities at the heart of rapidly evolving digital, decentralised and decarbonised energy systems, retailers can unlock new opportunities in the face of unprecedented technological change.
This partner content is brought to you by Our Energy. If you’d like to learn more about working with Our Energy, including running pilots of Lemonade, contact [email protected].