Bank of Scotland, Halifax, Lloyds and Natwest have just announced over 200 branch closures collectively. Natwest says it’s a result of the ‘dramatic shift’ from face-to-face to online and mobile transactions.
Nothing new there… 32 of its branches went last year because of ‘increased use of digital banking’ and 300 as far back as 1996, as it rolled out new technology.
It has been a 20-year bear market for high street branches and a 20-year bull market for online banking, but it’s still hard to know where we are in the cycle. Especially with the Payment Service Directive 2 (PSD2) unleashing a new wave of data-driven innovation next year.
Banks will be required to share customer account information with other financial services companies (when explicit customer consent has been given) giving others a chance to come up with new ways to use all that information about how we spend our money.
The guiding principle for the next stage of development has to be to consider where the customer is with their behaviour and whether service providers are keeping pace.
Online investing is at a much earlier stage than online banking but almost everyone in this sector speaks ‘digital’ these days, albeit with varying degrees of fluency. It’s a top priority for most companies, with 92% of online investing propositions having hired someone specifically to lead the digital side of the business, according to Platforum Digital Benchmarking research.
Mobile is a ‘very high priority’ for 75% of businesses but mobile optimisation often stops short of logged-in account pages and mobile transactions. Mobile banking has gone further than this.
Over in the marketing department, the focus on digital is also ramping up, which is evident from this year’s very digital ISA season – we’re seeing online advertising from the old and the new of the DIY investing services. The likes of Fidelity and Hargreaves Lansdown are joined by the new wave of ‘robo advisers’: Moneyfarm, Munnypot, NetWealth, Nutmeg and Scalable Capital. The banks are launching and promoting new online services as well, including Barclays, Natwest and Santander.
84% of DIY investing services are increasing their digital spend this year with marketing automation investment increasing the most. Paid search, programmatic and website UX are getting the lion’s share of budget.
We will be looking at all this and more in this year’s D2C and Digital Investing Conference on 29th June in London. In particular, we will be focusing on:
- Which business models will make headway in 2017? Traditional DIY platforms (e.g. Hargreaves Lansdown) versus banks (e.g. Barclays) versus fund manager going direct (e.g. Vanguard).
- How can you get organised for success in digital? Changing culture, building internal capability, deciding priorities etc.
- Digital marketing – how to engage with consumers who aren’t interested, both in terms of on-going communications and customer acquisition.
Platforum research will be complemented by content from Econsultancy, our sister company, with Ashley Friedlein sharing his view of how to organize for success in digital, while Paul Lewis, of Radio 4 Money Box fame, will be talking about the problems of engaging customers with pensions and investments.
For more information or to register click here.