At Virtina, we always welcome a new challenge. It is one of the reasons why we have worked with almost every industry ranging from healthcare companies to fashion brands. We were more excited than scared when a leading energy broker approached us with a Magento development project. The client offers a top online energy pricing platform to customers in the United States.
The site allowed users to compare the energy prices from different suppliers and choose the best option for them. However, the client used an expensive third-party software solution to enable users to pick their desired energy provider. The clients wanted us to create a custom solution allowing customers to switch their energy suppliers without the middleman.
Here is how Virtina met all client requirements with intelligent and efficient software development.
Creating a Custom Portal for Choosing Energy Suppliers
The client, an online energy pricing platform, provides its (residential and commercial) customers with transparent access to leading energy providers in the U.S. The online energy pricing platform used third-party software for energy brokers to allow consumers to choose an energy provider offering the lowest price in their respective state or locality.
Moreover, the client was paying a hefty commission to the software provider. The Magento developers at Virtina created a custom portal for the client and cut the middleman so the customers could choose an energy supplier offering the best rates to them. Our custom portal had to collect information from the patient and safely transfer it to the relevant energy supplier’s software to facilitate this option.
Our experts had to build custom APIs that could efficiently communicate with the software solutions of different energy suppliers. Each software solution is unique, with varying complications. The expert team at Magento created a custom API to connect the client’s Magento website and the energy supplier’s software solution.
The portal displays the different energy suppliers and the price they are offering. Customers can then choose their desired energy supplier and change from the existing one without inconvenience. We use a simple and intuitive interface that the user can use to find and select the most cost-effective energy supplier for their residential and commercial energy needs.
Standardizing Data Collected From Customers
Data standardization was one challenge our team faced when developing the customized portal for the client’s Magento website. Our system can collect the data from the customer and standardize it for the relevant energy provider. Data standardization ensures that the customer can efficiently provide the information required for choosing a new energy supplier.
Users can check the pricing from different energy suppliers by simply typing in their ZIP code. Upon searching, the website shows the customers the various energy providers and their tariffs. The user must click the signup button alongside the desired energy provider/plan, which takes them to an online form.
The online form collects data from the customer in three steps. Our experts created a page that contains all the information necessary for customers to change their energy provider. The user must fill in fields like Email, First and Second Name, Phone Number, etc. To simplify the process, we even added a capability to populate some form fields automatically.
As each energy provider uses different software solutions, it is essential to ensure accurate data transfer. To accomplish this, we confirmed an efficient data standardization process that accurately transfers the data to the energy provider. Our APIs can adapt and convey the data to the energy provider’s software.
Combining WordPress Content With Magento eCommerce
Virtina uses a combination of WordPress and Magento to create a website that meets the client’s requirements. The client required numerous content pages allowing users to buy their products or plans. WordPress is one of the best options for content and ensuring its reach to the target audience.
On the other hand, Magento is famous for its robust eCommerce capabilities. It is also worth noting that the client serves residential and commercial customers. By combining WordPress for content pages and Magento for eCommerce capabilities, we were able to bring the best of two worlds together.
The result is an excellent website that delivers quality content to the audience while allowing quick eCommerce actions. It enables the client to publish interactive content and boost engagement with their audience. Our experts ensured the client’s website could attract customers and convert them seamlessly with the combined pages.
Custom Bidding Portal for Commercial or Industry-grade Customers
Our experts are working on a custom bidding portal for the client’s website. The bidding portal is specifically for commercial or industry-grade power consumers like factories, plants, etc. Industrial customers can use the platform to get bids or tenders from multiple energy providers and choose the best offer.
The bidding portal will give commercial customers greater economical flexibility. We believe this feature will bring more commercial or industry-grade power consumers to the client’s website. The client is likely to boost their sales and conversions with the help of the bidding capability.
Complicated APIs With Advanced Capabilities to Facilitate the Communication
Virtina created several custom APIs to facilitate the communication between the Magento store and the energy provider’s software solution. Some energy providers are very selective about their customers and use systems that discourage defaulters. It often includes a credit check requirement for customers.
Our experts ensured the system could convey necessary information to a credit-checking API to check the eligibility of customers. If a customer is a past defaulter, they must make a deposit first to use the new energy supplier. This back-to-back communication and eligibility check made the custom development of API significantly more complex.
Fortunately, Virtina has worked with several custom APIs, including developing custom payment gateways. Our experts created a system that collects the customer’s social security number for a quick and efficient credit check. Similarly, every API we created for the client had some unique challenges.
But our experts were able to navigate through the challenges with custom Magento development. Our experts had to bypass these challenges while facilitating effective communication between the different systems. Besides that, we are also creating a standard software solution to allow energy providers without a software solution to offer their energy plans on the energy pricing platform.
Custom Magento APIs for Numerous Energy Suppliers
Custom API development is one of the most challenging and time-consuming parts of making the client’s website ready for its customer. Most energy suppliers have their software solutions. These software solutions allow energy suppliers to accept payments and add new customers to their systems.
The experts at Virtina had to build a custom API for each software solution as they are all different. While some APIs are relatively easy to develop, others are more complex. For example, some software solutions require a credit check on the customers before allowing them to choose a new energy supplier.
Hence, some APIs required adding a credit-check capability and other custom capabilities. The experts at Virtina tackled this challenge and created custom APIs for over ten energy suppliers. By the end of the project, we will develop around one hundred custom APIs allowing the customer to choose from an extensive list of energy suppliers.
Salesforce Integration and Advanced Data Security
Salesforce is one of the best customer relationship management software, and our experts integrated the same into the client’s website. The seamless Salesforce integration ensures the client can manage its residential and commercial customers effortlessly. The solution is also ideal for providing customer service, marketing automation capabilities, and more to site owners.
Besides Salesforce integration, our experts also had to prioritize the security aspect of the client’s website. The client’s website handles sensitive or confidential data, including social security numbers. Hence, we had to ensure secure data transmission in the energy pricing platform.
The experts at Virtina use HTTPS-based secure transfer to ensure data security. Besides that, we also activated server-level security monitoring to ensure the seamless working of the client’s website. As a result, we could provide the secure transfer of data between multiple systems without compromising customer data.
Automatic Population of Data Using Utility Database
Utility companies are the ones that typically deliver energy to consumers. While the users can change their energy supplier must keep using the same utility company. The client’s website has access to a Utility database. It provides the client with valuable information regarding its customers.
Our experts use the utility database to automatically populate user data on their WordPress-Magento website. For instance, the site can automatically populate fields like the customer’s address using the utility database. It makes the customer journey effortless, which ultimately can help in boosting sales and conversions.