By 2017, more than 1 billion mobile subscribers will use mobile banking. A whopping 50% of smartphone users access mobile banking today (remember from a previous post, more people in the world own a smartphone than a toothbrush!). Online banking is an important function for many customers but many banks are still sorting out the details of what to offer and trying to keep up with customer demands. There’s a small window of opportunity to capture new customers, ready to depart their current relationship, with banking apps that offer customized functionality consumers want.
There’s no doubt the relationship between banks and customers has changed. Convenience and ease-of-use are important as evidenced by the popularity of online banking, which had a faster adoption rate than ATMs when they were first introduced to the market. If that’s not enough, there’s a strong desire by consumers to not have to step foot inside of a bank branch.
Build an App Strategy
1. First, ask your customers what functionality they’re looking for. They might want all banking services in one convenient place or they may be looking for customized functions to aid in their financial needs.
2. See what’s already out there. Peruse the app store to see what apps exist today, how much they cost and what features they offer. Here are some specific things to think about:
-Price: We did a quick check on "banking", "financial planning tool", "financial services" and "money management" in the app store. We found that most of the apps are free.
-Ratings: They also have a 3.5 star or better rating.
-Branded or Generic: In the financial planning tool and money management cateogry we found a lot of companies that are focused on app development of a specific function and not an actual financial institution. In the banking category, we saw more common, large company names like HSBC. Be prepared to expand your offerings once your customers get used to your current app. They're already comfortable with your brand, so give them a reason to stick with you.
3. Continually enhance the app after it initially launches. As consumers demand additional functions, it’s important to be prepared to give them what they want or they’ll go elsewhere. Plan for scheduled releases and then use it to your advantage by sharing the upgrades. It’s possible to capture the attention of new customers at that time, too.
4. Conduct app store optimization (APO). The #1 way to optimize an app is to use a descriptive, keyword rich title for the app, because title has the biggest influence on app search results. As an example, instead of “Managing Money” try “Managing Money to Save for Retirement.” Search in the app store is exploding, as people aren’t just looking for games anymore; they want to explore what’s nearby – events, restaurants, etc. Combine that with the fact that 48% of mobile customers would like mobile banking tailored to location and personal shopping habits, and there’s opportunity to quickly connect with a new customer base.
5. Be proactive and informative about security. Some consumers are hesitant about the security of banking via an app. This article from Bank Systems and Technology outlines why an app is actually more secure than people think. “Mobile apps, on the other hand, provide a direct link from the device to the bank, without having to go through any additional browser or third-party application. This means banks have much better control over the security and connection of customer interactions.” Take the time to explain this to your customers – as well as any other security measures you’ve taken – to help minimize security concerns.
Consult with the Experts
Spindustry Digital recently partnered with Guide One Insurance to develop an app to allow users to manage their account. Functions include viewing and managing policies, finding an agent, viewing claim status and reading current news from Guide One. The app is still being finalized before being submitted to the app stores. We’ve worked with other financial organizations to create an app strategy, design and develop apps and integrate app promotion into marketing. Let us know if we can help you capture new customers with app technology.