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The challenge of acquiring and retaining customers in a competitive market place

geo has initiated a discussion that is often mooted but less frequently directly addressed within the energy sector: that of the pressing and complex challenge of customer acquisition and retention in an increasingly competitive market place.

Parallel industry comparisons point to a plethora of household names that have either had to change their business models or face extinction because of their inability to do so and there is little doubt that the retail landscape for energy services will continue to evolve.

Customer choice in the retail energy sector is growing (73 active licensed suppliers in June 2018 vs 60 in June 2017) and visibility, moreover, ease of switching, has never been higher (OFGEM, 2018).

We believe that in energy retail and in every sector, there is really no loyalty; only points of predisposition which are hard won and easily lost. And we believe that the possibility of a dystopian future for this sector is very real, but only if suppliers, operators and retailers fail to grasp the possibilities that can unfold with proposition delivery that is built on genuine and deep customer insight, data analysis that allows the delivery of ever more meaningful propositions and product & user experience development that can support all of it, build those points of predisposition and sustain a market place that is good for customer, retailer and supplier alike (Forbes, 2018).

In any event, energy consumption to date has been little understood by most consumers, with little awareness of the cost itself, or of measures that can be taken at a customer level to reduce spend or optimise consumption. We think there is a significant opportunity for energy retailers to address that.

The philosophical position is relatively easy to arrive at. But the complexity of delivery with the combination of a plethora of increasingly complicated technologies, in an ever more fiercely fought over market place, is not for the unprepared.

Traditional energy retailers and new market entrants are starting out on their journey to become providers of “digital energy services”, instead of just suppliers of kilowatt hours of electricity and gas. Changing consumer habits and expectations along with rapidly evolving technologies at a time when the competitive environment in the energy industry is undergoing fundamental changes, presents huge challenges. Choosing the right technology platform is a critical step in reducing business risk and maximising the chances of success through this transition.

Digital energy services and achieving only a fraction of the possibilities that this paper is referencing will require a capable end-to-end solution which consists of in-home devices, cloud services and apps to capture data from electricity and gas meters, as well as other sensors in the home. It also needs to transfer data to the cloud, transform it into useful information and feed the results into engaging consumer applications.

geo has a point of view on the challenges around acquisition and retention of customers in an increasingly competitive energy landscape and has developed a unique toolset to navigate the complex array of commercial, technical and operational challenges that it presents.

The landscape is constantly shifting and we will continue to develop our capabilities to ensure that we remain at the forefront and in the best possible position to enable our partners to effectively compete.

In the next installment we will examine the importance of digital engagement to the acquisition and retention of customers.

About the authors

This white paper was written by geo, the UK’s leading smart energy technology company. If you would like to explore the topics discussed in this white paper in more detail, please contact the team on +44(0)1223 850 210 or by email at marketing@geotogether.com.

Download the full white paper here

73 active licensed suppliers in June 2018 vs 60 in June 2017

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