by Marc Schmitt
E-commerce is no longer just a side stage as far as sales are concerned. There is untapped potential for turnover which could be generated through a well-thought-out digital marketing and sales strategy. Energy suppliers today need to secure their private and business customers on the internet in order to survive long-term in the market.
The professional opening-up of the internet as a communication and sales channel is shaping the essential components for future digital sales models. Energy suppliers can and must score well with customised information, user friendly E-commerce and good online services. In the long-term, the only successful companies online are those which focus on their users’ needs. This applies to private customers as well as to those in the business sector. Digital marketing and sales measures should always be considered as blocks of a comprehensive eco-system: interested parties can only be guided through the sales process and won over as customers if these parts fit together. A good website or a well-designed online shop are key elements and without a marketing strategy to support this, it is not possible to generate any significant turnover.
In order to reach a large audience for your platform, there are many possibilities online – from search engine marketing to online advertising and even native advertising on media related to target groups. As soon as the potential customer is interested, further action should be taken within the company’s own digital eco-system. With products which require a lot of explanation, the buying decision is often preceded by an intensive information phase. It is therefore important to provide the interested parties with relevant information during this period – for example through a customised eDialogue programme or on social networks. If the decision to buy is made, it should be as easy and convenient as possible for the customer to sign up. User expectations are largely shaped by E-commerce specialists like Amazon who put the customer and their needs first. The customer will also expect the same treatment from the energy supplier of their choice!
It is one challenge to win over customers. It is another to keep them in the long-term. Here again, there are possibilities online for customer care, for example points programmes or special events. A broad customer base and a sound CRM system are invaluable for sales as well as product development. Energy suppliers who use the internet as communication and sales channels will be well-prepared for the digital future.
We have examined how well the potential of online marketing and sales are already being used in the energy sector and which possibilities there are for improvement in a recent study. You can find more information about it here.