In today’s digital age, utility marketplaces have gained immense traction. These customized platforms connect your customers with a wider variety of essential products, services, and even program participation opportunities than ever before. The personalized and highly integrated aspect of a quality marketplace allows you to incorporate data analytics to forecast the likelihood of customers engaging in your products and services, allowing you to tailor these offerings, your marketing strategies, and the user experience to customer preferences, thereby maximizing engagement, sales, and satisfaction. 

However, scaling such a marketplace comes with its own set of challenges, requiring a strategic approach to ensure sustainable growth and meet customers’ evolving needs. At its core, a utility marketplace is a centralized platform for customers to purchase trusted energy efficiency and clean energy products and to enroll in programs and services those products enable, such as demand response or managed charging. The customer experience is enhanced when instant rebate processing, product and service education, and installation are combined into a streamlined user journey. These marketplaces become a comprehensive resource for customers to manage all their energy needs. 

The initial phase of launching a utility marketplace comprises establishing offered products, building a user-friendly interface, and customizing the platform to your utility. The challenge begins when scaling the marketplace to reach a broader audience with diversified product and service offerings.

Strategies for Scaling a Sustainable Marketplace

Energize Offerings. Break barriers by offering more than just run-of-the-mill energy-saving products. Imagine a marketplace brimming with ENERGY STAR air purifiers and dehumidifiers, outdoor water-savers, sleek EV chargers, and portable home batteries. A utility marketplace isn’t just about saving energy and water, shifting demand, and decarbonization; it’s about revolutionizing how you connect with your customers. Diversifying offerings caters to a broader range of customer needs and ensures the success of your marketplace.

Power Personalization. Dive deep into data analytics to uncover customer preferences, home characteristics, behaviors, and needs.  For example, segment customers by previous purchase, preferred motivation, and age of home. Utilize this information to personalize products and services, offering tailored recommendations to each customer.

Unite Forces. Forge partnerships with trade allies to bundle services such as installation and maintenance into your marketplace. Be more than just a products marketplace; create a thriving and sustainable market for services backed by expert support.

Lead with Ease. Ensure your marketplace is intuitive and user-friendly. Make finding, buying and implementing energy solutions as easy as flipping a switch. Don’t just sell products; rather, educate and empower your customers with insights into savings and the benefits behind each purchase and program enrollment.

Embrace Tech. Building a secure, cutting-edge marketplace infrastructure is like installing turbo boosters on a traditional marketplace. Customers expect an Amazon-level experience. Embrace cloud-based solutions and scalable databases to handle surges in user traffic and data like a champ. Elevated technology not only accommodates growth but keeps the performance top-notch.

Energize Tomorrow, Today. Your utility is an energy pioneer. Show your customers you are on the forefront of energy efficiency, clean energy, and compliance by staying on top of emerging technologies and solutions and being ready to weave them into your marketplace. Staying ahead of the game means embracing innovation and partnering with someone who can help you stay one step ahead.

Scaling a utility marketplace is a multifaceted endeavor that requires a delicate balance between technological innovation, user-centric design, and strategic expansion. By focusing on user experience, adaptable technology, and regional nuances, your utility marketplace can grow sustainably while meeting the evolving needs of your customers.

Author

Brian McKee

Brian McKee

Director of Online Stores, Franklin Energy

Brian identifies opportunities and manages online store programs with utility and implementation contractor clients throughout North America. He serves as the product manager of our online store solution, ensuring our team provides exceptional customer service and delivers on client goals. Brian has worked with AM Conservation clients such as Ameren Missouri, Ameren Illinois, FirstEnergy, National Grid, Dominion Energy South Carolina, ComEd, Georgia Power, ICF and many more. He has served in sales and program management roles for online store, bulk product, and kit fulfillment programs. Before AM Conservation, he worked in account management and sales, in addition to being an entrepreneur. Brian holds a bachelor's degree in international studies, national security policy, from The Ohio State University.