How do banks sell on mobile? Stand-out providers make the most of customer data

After the 2008 recession, players in financial services have been forced to rethink their sales techniques. The sales culture of the past has now moved towards looking to fill the customer’s “unmet needs”. Our latest Insight Series report on mobile sales looks at stand-out examples of selling via the mobile banking app and browser, and shows the providers with fresh approaches to this from around the world.

Keeping the customer engaged with the brand

While some brands still use the pre-login area for promotional messages, the activity in the post-login space appears to have more potential. The main areas for post-login promotional messages are alerts and push notifications (managed in the app but received at any time). Both approaches are designed to keep the brand at the customers mind. Some providers are even using the customer spending and account activity to send timely notifications.

Research Manager Jess Morley comments: “In the wake of the financial crisis and various mis-selling scandals, consumers and providers have become wary of the ‘hard sell’ when it comes to financial services products. Instead, there has been a move towards selling by identifying unmet consumer needs. This is an approach that relies on the bank effectively acting as the customer’s financial advisor, using their data to identify products that could improve their financial situation. When products are suggested to consumers in this evidenced-based manner, the sale seems less forced and consumers are more willing to trust the suggestion. This is a sales technique that banks have adopted from ecommerce providers like Amazon, which provides customers with a list of suggested products based on their browsing history.”

Using the value proposition to attract the right customer

A lot of challenger banks don’t yet have that many products to sell. One approach, which is aimed at attracting new tech-savvy customers, is to strengthen their value propositions by using slick design and certain functionality.

An example comes from LaCaixa’s ImaginBank. The mobile-only bank is fully integrated with Facebook and WhatsApp to make any communication with the bank seamless, and also making word-of-mouth promotion much easier. The decision to integrate the bank with social channels makes it clear that they are t argeting mobile-first consumers. This is a developing trend we have seen across a number of geographies, where incumbents have launched separate brands to target the more digitally-minded millennial market – Santander’s SmartBank and Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank’s ‘B’ are other examples. This approach allows the incumbents to invest in the digital services that younger consumers are demanding, to provide them with a sustainable client base, without alienating their existing consumers who may still prefer bricks over clicks.

Taking small steps towards tailored promotions on mobile

In order to meet “unmet needs”, providers are making use of customer data to get to know their customers. Using this data wisely allows brands to deliver promotions tailored to each individual.

One of the best uses of customer spending data comes from American Express. Soon after purchasing a flight on the credit card, the customer receives an email prompt to take out some travel insurance. Furthermore, the email promotes their partners in the particular country – hotels, restaurants and retail stores. This type of holistic approach, of offering everything in the same place by the customer’s credit card provider, shows that American Express recognises the need to create an eco-system of partners around them to ultimately benefit the customer.




Banks have drastically changed their approach towards selling to their customers. Although promotions on the mobile channel might not yet be as evolved as on desktop and email, we are still seeing some new thinking in this area.

Our Mobile Sales report looks 52 brands across 8 countries, and contains many more screenshots of standout sales initiatives. For more information, please download our free sample report.

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