Utility marketplaces evolve into tools to engage customers beyond the meter

By Rebecca Harris, Data Analyst –

Utilities are increasingly looking toward online marketplaces as an avenue to increase customer loyalty.

Marketplaces are web-based stores offering energy efficient products, appliances, smart-home devices or other items. Through these stores, utilities are expanding consumer relationships beyond the meter, promoting energy efficiency and avoiding costs associated with building greater capacity.

Utility efforts aren’t in vain. Chartwell data shows that consumers who have used their utility’s marketplace are more satisfied with their utility. And the opportunity is huge – while only a small portion of consumers have used their utility’s marketplace, more than half of consumers say are interested in doing so.

Marketplaces can also be a platform to promote other utility programs and increase ease of doing business. Most utilities offer instant rebates directly through their marketplaces, eliminating paperwork, back-end issues and other barriers associated with their legacy rebate programs. In the near future, many utilities expect to use their marketplaces to integrate program sign-ups and develop personalized program marketing based on customers’ purchases. Marketplaces can also offer more options for electric vehicles, batteries and solar power equipment.

With these opportunities on the horizon, Chartwell expects many more utilities to adopt marketplaces in the near future. Chartwell’s newest report, Online Marketplaces as Customer Engagement Tools, shares data on consumer preferences, industry benchmarks and vendor activities in this growing area.

For more information about utility marketplaces download Chartwell’s report on from Chartwell’s Insight Center.

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