In one of its studies, leading consulting firm, Accenture, revealed that small-businesses have consistently exhibited a desire to embrace energy offerings that put into considerations their unique needs. Therefore, the firm advised energy providers, especially off-grid solar (OGS) firms, to incorporate new fundamentals such as deploying hyper-personalization and digitally-enabled engagements.
In Nigeria, where off-grid energy providers, such as those involved in solar installations, are struggling to penetrate a strong household market of 75 million people lacking access to electricity, looking to the small business segment may just be the breakthrough needed at this time.
For instance, while in Africa’s largest market most small businesses resort to generators to power daily operations due to the absence of alternative solutions that cater to their unique needs, Rensource, an off-grid solar solution provider, has embraced the insight by Accenture.
The renewable energy company, late in 2019, received a $20 million serie A funding to accelerate its effort in delivering decentralised offgrid power-solution to small business clusters in Nigeria. The funding was co-led by CRE Venture Capital, Omdiyar Network, EDPR, I&D, Yuzura Honda, and a couple of other partners.
Explaining the impact of the strategic focus on the small business segment, Managing Partner at CRE Venture Capital, Pardon Makumbe,had said, “Rensource’s goal is to offer solutions to the many challenges faced by SMEs in Nigeria, starting with power and expanding to other value-added services”.
Since it has become painstaking for the myriads of entrants into the promising solar market in the country to penetrate the personal, household market – due to high cost and challenges attached with installed batteries – looking to clusters of small business and tailoring solutions to their needs will open a launchpad for penetrating other segments.
According to the study by Accenture, 59% Small Businesses complained that energy providers’ services and products were not tailored to their needs to differentiate them from the residential customers; 42% said products and services tailored to their needs provide the highest satisfaction.
Hence the consulting firm advised, “To unleash trapped value, SMB energy personalization must be more sophisticated than simply adding more products or preferences”.
It added, ” Leading providers are leveraging data and digital to enable connected personalization. With a 360-degree view of SMB customer preferences, energy usage history, location information and other contextual information, it becomes possible to anticipate needs and serve up actionable insights”.
In line with Accenture’s insight, Rensource may have kick started a new approach that removes hurdles previously hindering market take off. Other OGS firms may need to think along this line to hit new sales level.