The FI Branch as a Physical Extension of the Online Banking Experience

9. January 2018.

Ongoing technological innovation and the integration of its practical uses for going concerns is nothing new. The speed at which this phenomenon takes place is still remarkable, and seems to be upending the world as we know it. In some cases is that the rapid growth of competition from newer, unconventional competitors that leverage technologies to quickly enter and take market share are hastening the demise of less “fit” participants in a particular segment of the retail ecosystem. That said, the observations made by the author in this article on the pure retail sector are applicable to the delivery of financial services and products from banking branch offices and other physical locations.

Physical stores will continue to evolve as will the technology they deploy. Too much is read into retail failures and not the success stories. There are some amazing examples of retailers that have made their physical stores very much a part of their online success story and others are sure to follow. It is instructive that despite tech gurus predicting the end of the traditional till and a move to mobile payments, we see many retailers upgrading their trusted workhorse to the latest high-spec point-of-sale systems. Why? Because it gives them a greater range of functions, together with more processing power and enhanced reliability.

Mercator Advisory Group recognizes the retail shopping experience has many characteristics that are still applicable to all populations served by financial institutions, and as the customer–centric model becomes a central driver in structuring engagement with consumers for FIs, the branch and the ATM will retain a position in the customer’s journey, and act as the location for pivotal decision meetings. Already we see the evolution of the branch to incorporate more one-to one conversations spaces and meeting rooms. The cooperation between baking employee and AI-enhanced interfaces with data sets will deliver efficient and informative personalized financial solutions to whatever the medium, physical or virtual.

Overview by Joseph Walent, Associate Director, Customer Interactions Advisory Service at Mercator Advisory Group

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