The mobile shift within retail banking and the need to change

Written by Matthew Jones

Mobile, and specifically mobile apps, are fast becoming the most important touch point between a retail bank and its customers. Customers expect a great experience when using their bank’s app, but how can you realistically deliver this?

In this article I bring together and summarize my previous posts on The Power of Mobile within Retail Banking and HTML5 vs Native – A battleground within Retail Banking

The shift so far and what’s coming next

Consumer behavior is changing; instead of visiting their branch, or sitting down at a computer, consumers are using their bank’s mobile app almost exclusively to carry out their banking. According to KPMG, by 2019, almost two billion people will use mobile banking, and The British Banker’s Association adds that by 2020, customers will use mobile to manage their accounts more than the internet, in-branch, and telephone banking put more than branch

In addition to a shift in the channels consumers use, the way we use our bank is changing. Mobile payments have already changed the way we pay for things, but now consumers are becoming obsessed with having 24/7 access to their data as well as the ability to interact with it. Mobile budgeting, spending analysis and forecasting have all grown in popularity and 69 per cent of consumers already check their account on their mobile before making a large purchase (US Federal Reserve).

If these predictions are correct, the implications cannot be underestimated; it is both an opportunity and a threat to organisations that haven’t yet realized the power of mobile in retail banking. In the next few years, a bank’s mobile app and the user experience will be what builds and differentiates a banking brand from another, rather than bricks and mortar, or their in-branch experience:

“Banks are starting to see how important the experience is to driving customer satisfaction….that’s the differentiator we have to go after”, says Hari Gopalkrishnan at Bank of America.

The need to change now

One in six already take a bank’s mobile capabilities into account when they are switching providers (McKinsey), yet the majority of retail banks’ mobile offerings don’t match consumer expectations and could be improved significantly.

Most retail banks already have some form of mobile offering. It’s often a replication of their internet banking service, with limited functionality and without the ability for users to interact with the data displayed. Alternatively, it’s a mobile app that is slow, unresponsive and just doesn’t cut it. Until now, this (often cost-focused, HTML5 solution) was perhaps ‘good enough’, but the heightened expectations of customers means that is no longer the case.

Often, “Organisations opting for an HTML5 or hybrid app are getting bitterly disappointed with their customers response. Those who put out native apps…gain an instant competitive advantage” says MobileSmith.

Safe in the knowledge that users are ready to adopt a mobile as their main touch point, you should be investigating the power of data visualization and how to invest in native iOS and Android applications to move forward and be able to provide the functionality users desire.

Cherry pick best practice from other industries and popular apps

Often a good place to start is apps from other sectors. Creating a navigation similar to apps that consumers are used to, results in them instantly feeling at home when using your own. Indeed, to address data visualization, MyFitnessPal is a great example of an app delivering a variety of information through interactive charts that look good, making the information easy to digest.

Provide style and substance

We understand that providing a stylish looking application and the back end substance that meets the ever-growing needs of customers is difficult. However, it’s totally achievable with careful strategic planning, the right advice and the right tools.

In our recent white paper, Style and substance in mobile retail banking; charting in mobile apps, we provide an overview covering how to deliver a positive user experience, the power of data visualization and how to nail mobile charting, along with additional examples of how others within financial services are tackling mobile.

Download White Paper

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