Throughout 2012 Mapa researchers have been busy updating online competitor intelligence dashboards, and posting stories about the changes encountered. These dashboards cover a broad spectrum of the financial services products and the accounts monitored are drawn from all corners of the globe.
This has been complemented by the production of a series of topic specific reports, ranging from technological innovations, through to banking security and mobile usability.
The 6 Trends
Looking at stories behind the headlines, a number of change clusters stand out as being areas of “hyper activity”, compared to the rest. We have picked out six clusters in particular worth noting for comparison with where you spent your money during year:
You almost want to say mature market: and then Apple fire it all back up with the mini launch. There is also some lovely kit available outside of the iPad including the Kindle Fire and Samsung Galaxy. All of which cements the Tablet sector in terms of enduring customer appeal. Looks count for everything here and Financial Services firms forget this at their peril
2. Mobile Payments
Not NFC, despite the best efforts of some participants. P2P payments was the poster boy of 2012 with initiatives such as PingIt in the UK, a variation in Scandinavia and many others elsewhere. As a backdrop the mobile arena generally continued as the “Every provider doing something, sometime, somewhere during the year we stated in 2011”. The design for mobile advice has never been more relevant or applied.
3. Adaptive and Responsive Web design
Following on from companies flooding into the design for mobile space, technology and device related web design has moved centre stage. Solutions like adaptive and responsive web design are helping providers mitigate the huge costs associated with supporting distinct devices by providing single platform consumer solutions. Some most welcome cost savings
4. Social Media:
Another area that has seemingly found a defined role. This is the customer service deployment role now widely adopted by financial service companies around the world. A safe and effective approach to the media. Certainly safer than some of the new product experiments a few brave souls have tried (First Direct).
The new initiatives from peer payments to cheque capturing, via banking itself, all use innovations that push deep into the security challenges financial services providers face in delivering a safe but straight forward customer experience. The light log in approach adopted by some is certainly symptomatic of an attempt to meet the balancing act challenge.
6. Multidevice and multichannel
Just when you thought it was safe to take your eyes off the digital channel and focus on multi-channel, customers have fragmented into serial device hoppers. The on-going challenge to deliver across channels has now become a cross device and cross channel double whammy. Those delivering the most consistent experience will as always win new and keep existing customers.
So what does 2013 hold?
Whilst the activity clusters are here to stay for the immediate future, some things we believe that could have a big impact on their direction in the short term are highlighted below:
- Tablet: The iPad mini and other tablet devices (and possibly the Chrome book)
- Mobile payments: NFC and social payments taking off
- Adapative and responsive web design: We're getting asked more and more about this. More than likely to be a hot topic this year.
- Social Media: Twitter becoming a broadcast medium rather than a network (will customer service needs go down?). Will consumers start to leave Facebook en masse too?
- Security: A major security breach in mobile
- Multidevice: The mass realisation that desktop banking is potentially dead
Regardless of what happens, you can be sure that we will be following the market closely!