Energy, telecoms or even healthcare suppliers offer multiple products and services solely on online platforms. But in such complex services, purchasing via online forms often becomes a bottleneck. How can we approach their construction to simplify this phase?
Once, we worked with one of the largest energy suppliers in Poland. Their core business was the production, distribution, and trade in electricity, as well as heat and gas. As a digital innovator, they launched the first online platform on the domestic market. Despite the great effort to build a user-friendly platform, their conversion rate was very low. Why?
Because their order forms were too complex and customers couldn’t finish, or got confused on the purchase path.
Approaching online forms for energy services
Imagine the user that must choose an energy supplier. His decision often goes beyond just an energy tariff. The provider asks him to adjust the offer to his lifestyle and needs by choosing between traditional and renewable sources, deciding on load profiling and managing complementary services. That sounds appealing, but at the same time, the user is not familiar with energy products. He finds the energy purchase process difficult and stressful.
For companies in the energy sector, it is their bread and butter. That’s why purchase paths must often be reconstructed, online forms broken-down into simpler steps, and the whole process kept elastic and easy to modify.
Remodeling of the purchase path
On purchase paths with complex processes, it all depends on the user’s intentions. Analyze how users behave on the purchase path. Do they get lost at any stage? Or maybe they make mistakes in the forms that require additional help from the support team?
Construct a purchase path which is consistent with the diagnosed intentions of users. Let the user first choose what he wants to do (order a counter and contract, rewrite or change an offer, etc.), then input basic contact details that involve him in the process, and only then go on to the step with the choice of energy offer.
The benefits of a clear purchase path go beyond an increase in sales. Customers consciously decide on the proposed offer, and make fewer mistakes, to say nothing of the fact that users don’t get frustrated. What’s more, confused customers won’t overload the customer service.
Breaking-down the online forms
The online forms must be in balance with a complex product like energy supply. Constructing them in the simplest possible way will give the user a clear guidebook through the decision process.
What’s more, breaking down the decision process into single steps generates an excellent moment to ask detailed questions that lead to upselling (e.g.: do you want a renewable energy source?). It also forces us to understand the offer better, thus helping us to identify a great moment to propose complementary services. Extra services like insurance, health packages, or professional repairs can be now easily adapted to the purchasing path and user’s needs. In effect, it increases cross-selling opportunities.
Additionally, using a progress bar can motivate users to buy complementary services in order to receive a discount.
We often meet with online forms in which each change requires the support of an IT team. That drastically prolongs the implementation time of small adjustments, tests, and even new products. In building an intuitive and understandable user experience, it’s a problem.
The purchase path and online forms for complex products must be constantly adjusted to meet users’ needs. That’s why they should be constructed on a flexible CMS (e.g. Pimcore). It gives a sales team freedom to adjust and create forms directly in the administration panel.
With flexible tools like snippets and reusable HTML templates, a sales team can easily define different purchase paths and tailor them to observed user behavior.
Selling more with online forms
Building a purchase path and online forms in a simple and flexible way brings great benefits. First of all for the user as he can easily follow the purchase path and fulfill his needs with less confusion and stress.
Energy suppliers benefit primarily in the form of a higher conversion rate of basic products, but also in satisfying additional, complementary needs of the users. This is visible in the increase of upselling and cross-selling.
Let’s get back to our recent partner. In their case, simplifying their online form resulted in a decrease in the number of incorrectly filled forms by 28%. What’s more, adjusting the online forms generated 1% to 50% increase in cross-selling. There were also other positive results – see the full case study.
Published August 16, 2018