Reinventing the Retail Branch
Shifting the narrative to better serve today's branch consumer.
As it always has, the branch landscape is evolving at a rapid pace. In the last 10 years, US banks have closed 17% of their branches. While branches were closing, the demand for technology was increasing. Though there has been a decline in day-to-day branch traffic, two-thirds of consumers still see value in a brick-and-mortar branch. Branches represent stability within the community and provide the human touchpoint consumers want when dealing with complex financial matters. This new shift in consumer banking can provide financial institutions with a golden opportunity to reinvent the branch experience and to better connect with their consumers.
As of 2023, more than 71% of consumers are currently visiting branches mostly for complicated problems and to seek education and financial advice. Your branch can take on this new role by incorporating technology, personalized service and improving products and services to deepen the relationship with consumers.
Creating a Strategy
Deciding where to build is only part of the equation. Knowing what to build is equally important. In today’s environment where one size no longer fits all, having an expansion and branching strategy is key. An expansion strategy will ensure that you are taking your retail branch network in the right direction by analyzing targeted markets based on marketability. It is important to find a location that is easy to get to and convenient, while considering key demographics, traffic flows, competition, and buildability options. And while looking at new additions to your network, do not forget to consider the existing ones. Optimizing your existing network can create efficiencies, detect areas for improvement and increase the value of your overall branching system.
A Balancing Act
As the physical footprint of a retail branch becomes smaller, the digital footprint increases, and branding needs to get bolder. A new retail branch is averaging around 2,500 sf, down from what typically used to be 4,000 to 5,000 sq ft. What once held bulky teller lines, large vaults, and private offices is now housing more open retail space with teller pods, small gathering areas, flexible workspaces, education centers and small meeting rooms.
Branding Speaks for You
Less space does not mean you cannot go big with your brand. With less space it is more important than ever to create an environment that is eye-catching from the inside out. Your building is your greatest marketing tool, from logos and wayfinding signage to wall coverings, door branding and interior design elements like furniture, flooring, and paint. Your branch needs to highlight your brand and all it represents.
Don’t Forget Technology
Branches today have big shoes to fill. They need to manage more complex financial matters, cater to a multigenerational consumer base, and lead the way in providing education and advice on money-related matters – all within a smaller footprint. While vibrant, consistently branded environments will get consumers through the door, having the appropriate in branch technology will keep them coming back. Technology is ingrained in everyday life so making it part of the branch experience only makes sense. From iPads and interactive touchscreens to digital signage and video walls, give your consumers the technology they want. Gone are the days with racks of brochures and print materials, It really is time to eliminate “paper” in branch offices.
Service and Consumer Experience
According to a Global Banking Consumer Study, only 30% of respondents rate their main bank’s customer service as excellent. Because of digital only banks and other businesses that operate outside of the financial industry, there is more competition than ever. Financial Institutions are reinventing the consumer experience by personalizing the conversation to get a more in depth understanding of the consumer’s goals and offering a more holistic experience that combines a variety of custom products and services that meets all their financial needs.
Giving Consumers What They Want
Consumers are craving a balance between convenient locations, in-branch technology, and personalized customer service to help gain the knowledge they need to make confident financial decisions. Whether opening new locations or optimizing existing ones, having a strategy to ensure your retail branch network is poised to provide a memorable consumer experience that meets their multifaceted needs is key to remaining competitive.
PWCampbell can help you bring your vision to life from evaluating your branch network in its entirety and helping you grow your footprint and choosing the best possible location based on marketability and buildability to designing a modern retail branch with strong branding, cutting edge technology and a functional space to provide the best consumer experience. Visit our portfolio to see the work we are doing to serve the financial industry today.