As bank branch traffic has slowed, we examine ways to create retail interior branch design to improve traffic for banks and credit unions in the financial services sector. Through design and digital branding strategies, we aim to plan branch formats, to animate as many aspects of financial services and as many experiences as possible by making the retail outlet a brand ambassador, i.e. the format that represents a brand in a positive light and by doing so helps to increase brand awareness and sales. In this article, we present design ideas and retail format solutions to inspire financial services operators and management teams to consider re-engineering their retail formats.
As part of a process of bank branch design renewal, we continually benchmark the best in class operations across the globe and on a recent trip to Australia in January this year we visited the latest branch formats by ANZ.
From the moment customers step through the front door, they are presented with a full range of digital banking options including wi-fi, next-generation smart ATMs, Apple Pay features, goMoney and a new “Banker Desktop”, which provides faster response times to queries.
Here are a few headline thoughts concerning brands, operational efficiency of retail outlets, cost savings versus overall profitability, and promoting digital technology at the expense of personal touch of brands.
Retail cost savings versus overall profitability:
In recent years, many banks have leveraged cost-saving technology to develop new design concepts that shrink branch payrolls whilst overlooking the impact on other critical branch functions. For example, a high-functioning smart ATM might replace frontline staff, but what about all those teller referrals, which provided something for consultation that generated a substantial portion of product sales in the branch? It follows the zero-sum gain of cost savings which lead to an even larger drop in lost sales opportunities. Think about this: Once-satisfied customers now have to wait in line at a new location, which was hard for them to get to and when they look around they see that it's overcrowded because the branch with its analogue systems approach towards branding tries to absorb a volume of traffic that was previously distributed across multiple locations. Alternatively, a new branch experience built around universal services could be used to reduce the number of full-time equivalent staff and achieve some operational efficiencies without sacrificing the sales and service components that tellers once handled. The CheBanca digital convenience branch offers itself as a new brand ambassador. This compact footprint is ideal for high traffic areas like shopping malls, railway stations and hypermarkets. It offers a solution to the problems posed above.
It is all about the consumer:
Many technology companies who compete for a slice of banking financial services market begin by putting the customer at the heart of what they do. They can because most of them were born to understand Generation Y in the digital age and have been able to structure their business model around their customers. This is harder for traditional banks, built as they are around analogue systems and processes. Of course, they still require new technology to remain relevant to consumers in the digital age, but the single most important thing a traditional bank can embrace and develop its customer focus linked to their brand experience.
So, why are the newer entrants and large technology companies succeeding? First, it comes down to the brand experience. Consumers are used to enjoying seamless and stimulating interactions with brands like Amazon, Uber, Apple, and so on. If they don't get the same experience when dealing with their bank or credit union, they will embrace the alternatives available. Amazon Payments, Google Wallet and Apple Pay are just some of the options, with the great advantage of being strong, trusted brands. These are 100% digital business models, built around the consumer, and with a thoroughly modern understanding of today's marketplace.
The images in this article have been taken from the Internet.
Why not call and talk to us about your bank branch design or refurbishment programme, branding, digital and social media requirements.