Despite being geographically far away from the rest of the world, Australia's financial services sector has found its place on the world stage. Australian banks are some of the most innovative in the world. As our 2016 Global Mobile Banking Functionality Benchmark has shown, some Australian banks have overtaken their global counterparts, with Westpac taking the coveted top spot.
The question that I often get asked from Australian digital banking teams is, "so what's next in financial services?"
And I think that's a great question. As uncertain economic conditions, wavering markets, and tight budgets continue to increase the pressure on Australian digital teams to deliver better experiences and increased sales through digital touchpoints, we believe that digital business executives have to drive digital transformation. And this means far more than simply developing a "digital strategy".
Digital banking executives must make mobile the hub of customer interactions, and not treat mobile as if it were just another channel. They should develop mobile banking as a platform to engage customers. To continue to win and retain mindshare and increase wallet share, the next step digital banking teams must focus on are ways to create new sources of value for their customers, not just meeting their basic needs.
Emotions are at the basis of how customers perceive experiences – and why they choose to stay loyal to certain brands. But, not all emotions are equal: Different emotions lead to unique behavioral outcomes depending on context, emotional intensity, and even industry.
For example, in our latest study, my colleague Tom McCann and I measured the emotional impact of CX among banks and retailers in Australia. We discovered that feeling valued is one of the most powerful emotions driving loyalty toward a bank: Australian customers who feel that their bank puts them first are willing to pay a premium for the bank’s experience and are more forgiving when something goes wrong. However, among retail customers, valued is good – but happy is better. Australian retailers that leave customers in a cheery mood are more likely to retain their shoppers and turn their customers into advocates.
And what makes Australian shoppers happy? Forrester’s Consumer Technographics® survey data shows that details in the experience go a long way. For instance, customers are pleased with perceptibly low prices or special deals, stocked inventory, and pleasant customer service reps.
In August 2015, the Australian government announced an impending change to their tax structure that will impact online retailers serving the market via international shipping. Today, Australian consumers can import up to A$1,000 duty-free when they buy from a foreign retailer. The A$1,000 duty-free exemption is known as the low value threshold (LVT) and it has driven a large cross-border shopping habit among online shoppers in Australia. But change is afoot and retailers should know that:
Goods and services tax (GST) will be added to cross-border transactions previously exempt. As of July 2017, the Australian government will be expanding its GST collection to purchases previously exempt under the A$1,000 threshold. Additionally, the government stipulates the onus is on retailers to collect and remit the tax: According to the Australian Treasury Department, "For goods with a value of A$1,000 or less, GST is applied at point of sale. Overseas vendors with an Australian turnover of $75,000 or more will be required to register, collect and remit GST on low value goods."*
The answer: In the markets included in our latest Asia Pacific Online Retail Forecast— China, Japan, South Korea, India, and Australia — total online retail revenues will nearly double from $733 billion in 2015 to $1.4 trillion in 2020. For perspective, $1.4 trillion is about the same amount spent online in 2015 in every market that Forrester forecasts across the globe combined.
In our latest report, Asia Pacific Online Retail Forecast 2015 To 2020, (subscription required) we look at the growth in these markets over the next five years and some of the key trends shaping the development of online retail in each one, including the following:
China’s eCommerce market grows despite the economic slowdown. 2015 marked a global eCommerce turning point: China surpassed the US to become the largest eCommerce market in the world, but its economy also dipped below 7% for the first time since 2009. While the days of staggering year over year eCommerce growth in China are behind us, current growth rates are solid and more consistent with other mature markets in the region, like Japan and South Korea.
India is the fastest growing eCommerce market in the region, but is not without its obstacles. The smallest eCommerce market in our forecast, India’s online sales will grow by more than five-fold by 2020 as the number of online buyers and per capita online spending increase rapidly. However, in addition to underdeveloped logistics and challenging last-mile connectivity, India's cash-based culture still poses a challenge for eCommerce firms.
As all organizations operating in Australia understand, the line between brand, marketing, and customer experience (CX) disciplines has blurred as people gain access to companies, services and products on their own terms. How can you thrive in this dynamic environment? Start by effectively coordinating between brand, CX, and marketing teams.
We’ve filled our agenda with senior CX and Marketing professionals from leading organizations across Australia, and beyond. Key topics they’ll cover include:
Driving business results, competitive advantage, and growth by delivering the right customer experience.
Identifying the key practices and behaviours that fuel CX innovation.
Building and maintaining a brand in a digital world.
Instilling an understanding of customer emotions into design experiences and branding strategy.
Systematically improving CX through effective measurement.
I had the pleasure of presenting to Singapore’s DBS Bank yesterday on customer experience and listening to CEO Piyush Gupta’s thoughts on the bank’s journey since he joined in 2009. He spoke about his conclusion upon joining five years ago that a critical challenge to be addressed was an inside-out perspective by the bank’s employees. Since then, he’s driven the bank through a successful transformation project Forrester wrote about in an August case study. Looking forward, he sees the bank working toward “joyful” banking and is seeking ways to embed more emotional connections into their customer experiences.
Listening to Piyush speak reminded me of my interactions with another regional CEO this year who has driven a successful company transformation: Telstra’s David Thodey. David also joined in 2009 and has driven Telstra’s success through a focus on the customer. He has given his customer focus organizational teeth by linking it to Net Promoter Scores (NPS) that determine part of the compensation system at Telstra. The importance of measurement is the key reason we recommend our clients leverage Forrester’s CX Index.
I recently visited Telstra’s “Let’s Connect” Analyst Summit 2014 in Sydney, the analyst event of Australia’s incumbent telecom provider, Telstra. CIOs of MNCs who have been tasked with finding the right provider in Australasia need to balance their requirements for true end-to-end solutions that many tech services providers promise with the need for reliable collaboration and connectivity services as well as cloud and services solutions. Telstra brings attractive assets and strengths to the table regarding these core focus areas. My main takeaways are that:
Telstra is a strong network services provider in Australasia. European CIOs who require a strong network service provider in the developed markets of Asia and Australia find a solid partner in Telstra. There Telstra stands out through high-quality network infrastructure and local teams on the ground.
Telstra provides telco industry benchmark offerings in healthcare. Telstra is dedicated to becoming a strong provider of healthcare solutions that rely on connectivity. CIOs in the healthcare sector should look to Telstra for solutions such as hospital-in-the-home partnerships, medical care in remote communities, as well as telemedicine services.
Telstra takes organizational and cultural transformation very seriously. Telstra is fully aware of the need to transform its organizational structures and operating culture and to transform toward a more service- and software-focused telco. Although this transformation will take time to implement, CIOs will find a network service provider that is committed to transformation at the very top of management.
On Monday Microsoft officially announced the launch of two Azure Data Centers in Australia. This is big news for the many Australia-based organizations concerned about data sovereignty, as well as those who simply equate on-shore data residency with increased security and control.
Announced as part of TechEd 2014 in Sydney, Microsoft specifically called out Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google as it’s key competition. In fact, Microsoft has gone to great lengths over the past year plus to consistently position these two companies as the only other viable longterm cloud providers. This is based on three cloud provider capabilities identified by Microsoft as critical: hyper-scale, enterprise-grade, and hybrid.
Overall it’s a good angle for Microsoft. All three players operate at hyper-scale as public cloud providers. All three also offer enterprise-grade services, (although this definition varies based on workload). Most importantly for Microsoft, neither AWS nor Google have a primary focus on enabling hybrid cloud services.
In contrast, all traditional large infrastructure vendors (Fujitsu, HP, IBM, VMware, etc.), system integrators (Dimension Data, NTT, etc.), and telco’s (Telstra) focus squarely on enterprise-grade services and hybrid cloud enablement. Rackspace, IBM and HP also have Australia-based data centers. But all these providers lack hyper-scale.
I had the pleasure of conducting a Digital Maturity Assessment workshop with a colleague from Forrester Consulting for about 20 companies in Sydney recently. The majority of participants were from the Australian financial sector, with heavier representation from marketing departments than technology management. While the session was an abridged one intended to discuss, understand, and determine where the participants were on their digital business journey, it was productive and revealed that:
Participants knew what to do with digital business transformation, but struggled with how. Participants had started on the digital transformation journey, but needed to address cultural and organizational gaps to fully drive transformation. These issues include who owns the digital transformation agenda (does it sit with the CIO or CMO?), how to bridge the communication chasm between the CIO’s department and the lines of business, and how to measure results to drive transformation in a positive direction.