SolarCity Corp (NASDAQ:SCTY) announced on Thursday, December 4th that it was launching a new app designed to build its relationship with customers by offering real-time energy use data and providing a social network for its customers to chat and exchange stories and photos.
The new MySolarCity app can also be used by homeowners to get a one-hour window for when they can expect a SolarCity Corp (NASDAQ:SCTY) crew to arrive to install solar panels at their location.
More on MySolarCity app
The new app was conceived from the outset as a multi-faceted initiative to bring SolarCity customers closer into the fold and attract new customers. SolarCity executives have even talked about developinging a “simple and frictionless” process to sign up customers online. The execs mentioned Amazon and Uber as models.
Any way you look at it, the MySolarCity app is a big part of the firm’s plans to attract new customers and gain their loyalty. One function of the app is to provide customers with real-time data, using pre-installed meters to measure solar energy production and consumption, including how much the energy use cost per hour, according Peter Rive, co-founder and chief technology officer of SolarCity Corp (NASDAQ:SCTY).
The company will be adding a feature in the future to alert homeowners when they are using more energy than normal, giving them a chance to see what’s going on or adjust their electricity consumption, Rive noted.
Of note, rival SunPower brought in a former dell marketing exec to develop an online shopping portal that it claims will offer a simple and easy method for choosing solar equipment and financing options. The portal is scheduled to be launched next year.
Designed to create a SolarCity social network
The initial version of the app already comes with social networking elements. For starters, it includes a map that shows nearby SolarCity customers, but it does not give addresses or identify individual homes.
Customer referrals has become a critical part of the firm’s growth strategy, so SolarCity designed the app to encourage customers to become “ambassadors.” Existing customers will receive $250 for each referral and can compare their new customer referrals with other “ambassadors” around the country. The firm is even providing an Instagram-like feature for ambassadors to enable photo sharing.
“The value of social networking is proportional to the size of the network, and SolarCity Corp (NASDAQ:SCTY) has a large network,” Rive commented. SolarCity claims to be the nation’s largest residential solar installer.