Saving energy has been promoted by government campaigns, environmental organisations and energy providers alike. Saving energy and saving expenses make sense to consumers. With more and more energy companies to choose from, consumers are now shopping around for what deals and offers fit their needs best – which is currently the main reason for Irish and British consumers for selecting a provider, our study shows. However, energy sites in Ireland and Britain are losing 69% customers on average by failing to offer a product that suits users’ needs and communicate quickly and easily that they are trustworthy.
In a study of 190 in-market consumers that are looking for a new energy provider, we discovered that there’s a lot of room for improvement for energy websites to win customers. In Ireland, the most popular companies (Electric Ireland and Energia) still lose 51% of consumers, who had them shortlisted as their initial preference (before comparing websites and offers), but chose another brand as their final preference. In Britain, E.ON Energy is most popular, with a loss of 56%. PrePay Power is losing the most prospect clients in Ireland: 74%, while in Britain, SSE has the most lost opportunities at 86%.
The question is: why do prospects who initially preferred one brand, end up choosing another?
To understand consumer’s choices, we used our conversion optimisation study Fruition. Firstly, we learned about the journey that those who are looking for a new energy provider undertake:
- 95% start their journey with a search engine
- 44% move direct from search engine to a brand website. 71% use aggregators (comparison websites)
- 75% have an initial preference before researching
- 44% picked “best offer/price for my needs” as influence on final decision.
We can see a shift from initial preference to final preference when it comes to the importance of price, however loyalty (or laziness?) remains important, indicating that retention opportunities need to be capitalised. Trust, reputation and familiarity still play an important role in final decision making (as per initial preference). Brands need to communicate that they can be trusted, demonstrate that they are reputable and facilitate returning customers.
The top 10 motivators for final preference of a particular energy brand:
- They have the best deals/offers for my needs (37%)
- I am a current customer (37%)
- I trust this company (29%)
- I have used them before (27%)
- They are a reputable brand (26%)
- Their plans were easy to understand (23%)
- They offer the greatest discount off the unit rate (22%)
- They had the best household energy plan for my needs (21%)
- The website is easy to understand and use (16%)
- The website made it easy to find information about rates and charges (16%)
Top tips to drive conversions on energy websites
We have gathered 7 best practice examples for you from various studies we’ve conducted internationally, that all showcase the most important website features to drive conversions according to our latest study of Irish and British Energy consumers.
1. Cater to existing customers from the start
Speak to needs & cater to different audiences. Electric Ireland has top scores for “Looks like a site that caters for me”
2. Offer clear pathways to various tasks and information
Electric Ireland has top scores for “Offering a clear starting point for information I would expect to find about energy plans available” & “Website displays all the information I expect to see.”
3. Offer a direct link to view energy rates & compare plans
Needs based content helps prospects identify where to find information they are looking for (Compare rates, energy saving, help & support etc.)
4. Focus on customer support
Show customers that you have a helpful support system. List the most popular FAQs & links to more, so that visitors can ‘self-serve’ – right from the home page in one click, like Energia does.
5. Use easy to scan icons
6. Help users understand the differences
“May suit you” helps to give users a guide to what might appeal to them. ANZ, an Australian bank, gives prospects practical bullet points, offering a quick overview of the product, making it quick and easy to see the differences between the products they offer.
7. Show off your awards
Awards are a great trust builder. Eon, Britain’s top performer in our study, won Large Supplier of the Year 2017 in the uSwitch Energy Awards and mentions on their homepage that they were voted best of the large suppliers for customer satisfaction for the fifth year running.
Global Reviews specialises in helping top brands worldwide convert more of their ideal customers online, through the use of the most advanced research methodologies. To find out more about how we can help you and your digital teams, or if your brand would like to be included in our next round of FRUITION research, please contact:
Hannah-Rose Farrington – Commercial Director
T: +44 (0) 203725 8260
M: +353 (87) 1263043