Digital Executives At Banks: Steal Ideas From Retailers To Win More Customers

Peter Wannemacher

Over the past decade, digital executives and teams at banks have made strides in digital selling by upgrading and improving their public websites — and more recently their mobile apps and sites. But conversion rates on many banks’ websites remain low — in some areas, well below 10% — even as consumers’ expectations for digital experiences rise.

To take their digital selling to the next level, digital marketing and sales teams at banks should look outside the banking industry for fresh thinking. One area to look for inspiration is retail: By adapting digital tactics that best-in-class retailers use, banking digital teams can make adjustments to their websites and mobile apps that boost conversion rates and sales overall. Forrester has just published a new report that outlines “What Banks Can Learn From Retailers' Websites.” Here are just three of the ideas we discuss in the report:

  1. Merchandise around customers’ needs and journeys rather than product silos. Retailers have found success by merchandising entire site sections, and even microsites, around customer journeys and events. Yet our research finds that virtually all banks still use products as the organizing principle on their websites. In 2013, Wal-Mart created a complete "back to college" microsite with digital marketing on key landing pages. As a result of this and other digital merchandising efforts, Wal-Mart increased the number of back-to-school products sold on its website by 30% year-over-year.
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What Threat Do P2P Currency Exchange Startups Pose To Retail Banks?

Oliwia Berdak

This is a guest post by Alexander Causey.

Have you ever sent money abroad and been shocked by the amount the recipient is left with? Why can’t you ever get anything close to the exchange rates advertised on the likes of

As a customer, transferring money internationally is often a costly experience. Despite claims of no fees, the exchange rate spreads are often significant. That’s where P2P currency exchange comes in.

Startups such as CurrencyFair, Kantox, Midpoint and TransferWise hope to solve this problem by using the power of peer-to-peer networks to match customers, both individuals and small business, with one another to significantly reduce the cost of currency exchange.

By matching currency orders travelling in opposite directions, these platforms remove the need for money ever having to cross borders, thus avoiding costly international transfer fees. Thanks to low overheads, they also offer exchange rates at (or very close to) the midmarket rate that you see on As you can see from Midpoint’s calculator below, the savings can be substantial.

If you’re interested in finding out more about this emerging sector - one that has been backed by the likes of Peter Thiel, Richard Branson, and Andreessen Horowitz - you can read mine and Oliwia’s new report here. The report, the latest in our ongoing series about digital disruption in retail financial services, answers the following questions:

1.             What is P2P currency exchange?

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Finovate Europe 2015: Execution Is Harder Than Idea Generation

Benjamin Ensor

Finovate EuropeI spent Tuesday and Wednesday of this week at Finovate Europe. As always, it is a great way to spend two days thinking about digital financial innovation and how firms can deliver better experiences for their customers. Here are a few of my impressions from the two days:

  • Biometrics is becoming mainstream.We barely raise an eyebrow when shown authentication processes by firms like eBankIT, ID Mission, Jumio, Nice Systems and Wipro that use facial recognition, fingerprints or voice recognition because these technologies now seem almost commonplace. Yet the technologies are hugely impressive and far advanced on what was available or even possible a decade ago.
  • Future generations will pay differently. The credit card is one of the greatest financial innovations of all time. Yet, despite the various card innovations on show, I cannot rid myself of the belief that plastic cards will one day soon start to seem as quaint and outdated as cheques (and, indeed, business cards). There are many big obstacles on the path to mainstream mobile payment adoption, and payment habits take decades to change, but I don’t think the future is bright for plastic cards.
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Making Sense Of Digital Business: Four Can’t Miss Reports From 2014

Nigel Fenwick

In 2013 I wanted to help executives understand some of the fundamental changes that are happening in business because of the digital revolution. Big names capture the attention of the media – who in the USA could have failed to hear about the collapse of Blockbuster or Borders? Who in the UK could have failed to hear of the demise of HMV? When writing about these failures, most analysts highlight the disruptive companies that put them out of business; companies like Netflix, Amazon and Apple. But I wanted to know if there was something more fundamental going on that impacts the ability of an incumbent to defend against digital disruptors. So in 2013 I set out to research digital business successes and failures in an effort to uncover the secrets of digital mastery.

I captured insights from my research in reports published in 2014. Here’s my pick of the top four you should read to gain a deeper understanding of digital business (these reports are available to existing Forrester clients, non-clients can purchase them individually or download a summary from this page):

#1 The Future Of Business Is Digital  - The results of 18 months of research into what lies behind successful digital businesses were first published in March in this report. Originally published for CMOs and CEOs, the report was subsequently republished for CIOs as “Unleash your Digital Business”. This report highlights how digital business differs from traditional business; provides an overview of the customer’s dynamic ecosystems of value; and offers six strategies to help transform any business into a digital business.

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Sony Should Fight Fire With Fire And Post "The Interview" Online For Free

James McQuivey

Late last night, Sony revealed that it would pull The Interview from its release schedule. This decision was made in response to the step taken by the major theater chains, all agreeing that they would not screen the movie on its release day. The unprecedented decision is causing consternation among entertainment media types who feel that Sony has put the right of free speech in jeopardy. That's a conversation worth having, and I'm glad it's happening. But there is an entirely new question that this situation brings into dramatic relief, one that didn't exist before and one that our premeditations won't help us resolve. The question is this:

Can companies participate in cyber war?

Up until now, companies have prepared to defend themselves against cyber attacks as one-off nuisances. Such attacks are now so common that they no longer make the news. Even massive breaches where millions of customer data points are compromised tend to give us pause for only a few moments, perhaps a few days, and then we move on. But what Sony experienced was not just a security breach. This hack was a declaration of cyber war intended to bring Sony to its digital knees: a low-cost digitally effective cyber war that puts none of the hackers' assets in harm's way. And given yesterday's announcement, it appears to have worked.

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Insurers Will Pour Capital Into New Digital Innovation Ventures In 2015

Ellen Carney

Think that insurance is a sleepy industry? Think again.  In 2014, global insurance companies raced to out-innovate each other. They turned to new digital innovations to fend off threats from insurance start-ups like MetroMile and PolicyGenius and sorted out new ways to remain relevant as a host of well-known brands like Google and AT&T crept into realms historically owned by insurance firms.   We noted this innovation urgency among European and North American insurance firms earlier this year.

In casting an eye forward, we predicted seven events that would change the insurance landscape in 2015. A major force informing all seven predictions is the fact that smart insurers are recognizing that in the need to generate more good ideas faster, they have to radically change how they develop and execute new thinking. That means that insurers need to short cut the industry’s traditional “we’ll build and control” culture and instead go into the market, spot a hot business technology start-up that brings a lot of what’s needed to create a minimum viable product, and partner with them. And the smartest of the smart insurers are employing two unique industry forces—a very regular flow of premiums and the dynamics of equity markets— to get even closer to the source of new ideas:  By investing in them. In 2015, we’ll see more insurance venture capital startups form in the wake of similar VC business launches from insurers like American Family, AXA, MassMutual, and Transamerica.

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Mobile Customer Experience is Asia Pacific’s Next Digital Frontier – 2015 Predictions

Dane Anderson

Forrester’s Asia Pacific (AP) top ten trends outlook launched today as part of Forrester’s series of 2015 global market predictions. We expect the opportunities and threats posed by digital disruption to shift into a higher gear in 2015 with a select group of regional organizations rising to the call, but most falling behind (often without knowing it). Success in a digitally disrupted world will require CIOs to develop a deeper understanding of their customer journeys and invest in mobile customer experience excellence. Here’s a preview of our predictions for the coming year:

  • Digital transformation will drive technology spending growth of 4.9%.Always-connected, technology-empowered customers are redefining sources of competitive advantage for AP organizations. In fact, 79% of business and technology decision-makers that Forrester surveyed indicated that improving the experience of technology-empowered customers will be a high or critical priority for their business in 2015. Similarly, 57% said that meeting consumers’ rising expectations was one of the reasons that they would spend more money on technology next year — the top reported reason for increased technology spending
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Digital Business Transformation Will Gain Critical Mass In 2015

Martin Gill
In 2014 digital business hit the boardroom and the C-suite offices: At the beginning of 2014, 93% of executives told us that they believed that their industries would experience digital disruption in 2014. But our surveys and interviews also tell us that many executives don’t believe that their firm has the ability to execute on that plan, and many don’t have confidence in the plan itself.
As leaders race ahead with their digital business transformations in 2015, eBusiness professionals have to help pivot their firms from planning mode to doing mode or risk falling behind their more digitally savvy competitors.
In the report, "Predictions 2015: Digital Business Transformation Will Gain Critical Mass", I outline the key digital business trends that will impact eBusiness and channel strategy professionals in 2015, including:
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Inspired By Disruptors, Digital Banking Executives Will Innovate In 2015

Peter Wannemacher

In April, we outlined some of the most powerful forces reshaping digital banking. These include breathtaking growth in the role of mobile banking, unrelenting changes in technology, a crowded field of new competitors and digital disruptors, and rising expectations among customers and prospects.

Now we’ve taken a look at 2015 and predicted a dozen ways digital banking will change in the coming year.* At the center of these predictions is what Forrester calls the age of the customer: A 20-year business cycle in which the most successful enterprises reinvent themselves to systematically understand and serve increasingly powerful customers. To succeed in the age of the customer, digital bank executives must work with partners across their organizations to use business technology — which Forrester defines as technology, systems, and processes to win, serve, and retain customers — to deliver more compelling customer experiences to bank customers.   

You can read the full report with all of our digital banking predictions here. In the meantime, here’s a sample of two:

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Without Transformation, Banks Risk Shifting Down To Low-Speed Banking In 2015

Jost Hoppermann
For several years, we have noted a shift in power from companies to customers. Customers call the shots; they can and do transfer their loyalty when they aren't catered to with engaging customer experiences. The age of the customer has reached the banking industry; as in other industries, banks must change the way they do business to move the customer center stage.
Thus, application development and delivery (AD&D) teams must work with their peers across the bank to develop and apply the technology, systems, and processes needed to win, serve, and retain customers, partnering with eBusiness executives leading digital banking initiatives to drive new digital innovations. And this is not just a minority movement: Forrester’s Financial Services Architecture Online Survey 2014 shows that close to 80 percent of financial services firms around the globe work on transforming their application landscape or plan to start doing so within the next two years.
To prepare for this transformation imperative, AD&D pros need to be aware of the key trends for banking applications; the emerging and accelerating architecture trends, products, and services; as well as their to-do lists for 2015, which you can learn more about in Peter Wannemacher's Predictions 2015 report. While some banks aren't yet ready to take full advantage of these trends, Forrester believes that AD&D teams must be aware of, learn from, and prepare for eight trends in 2015. Among them:
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