This year will be exciting for consumer banking technology. 2016 saw the continued rise of innovative technology, such as biometrics and mobile wallets and the evolution of the bank. In 2017, we’re focused on four key trends that will continue the progress of 2016’s innovations while sparking new ideas.
In 2016, we saw beacon technology introduced into the market; in 2017, we will begin to see wider adoption in retail banking environments as consumers demand a more personalized experience from their banks. Beacon technology is relatively cheap, enabling institutions to adopt it at scale more easily and allowing banks to identify customers as they approach a branch or ATM to create a customized experience for them when they enter. Last year, we explored the benefits of beacon technology with Cuscal an Australian payment solutions provider.
The future of self-service depends on the trends that consumers are driving: they expect a personalized experience, driven by clever uses of their own data, and there will be an effort to combine all of these consumer demands to try to be the one providing a one-stop, completely tailored experience with the best-leveraged data and the personal touches that make customers feel as at home as possible.
The groundbreaking idea won’t come from the organization trying to reinvent the wheel. It will come from the organization who is taking the lead from customers and providing better, smarter, faster solutions that are secure, mobile-integrated and intuitive and fit seamlessly into customers’ lives.
“Digitalizing” channels will take on new meaning. Over the past few years, we’ve seen large investments in digital channels from both banks and retailers. The focus has been on digitalizing the physical branch, but that isn’t limited to moving the operation to online-only. We can expect to see an increase in operations seeking to better equip and better connect their branch and store personnel to the main operation and to the customers themselves, to provide personalized, data-enriched service. Adding new data services to generate insights about online and offline behaviors will allow banks to increase their value in both the merchant and consumer spheres. It allows them not only to provide the best service possible, but also to identify how to connect them to each other and from what channels of connection they will get the most value.
Physical channels that provide human interaction are strong differentiators. The institutions that will win will be the ones that are able to integrate digital elements into existing physical channels to provide more personalized service with an efficient delivery model. A great example of this is ATM usage: According to a recent report by Diebold Nixdorf and a major U.S. bank, ATM usage has remained steady since 2014.
Among the proliferation of digital payment platforms such as Apple Pay and Samsung Pay, usage patterns for traditional channels are holding steady — the way forward is interoperability.
Another example of this continued blend is Amazon Go, which is comparable to Diebold Nixdorf’s Connected Shopper experience, which we debuted at Money 20/20. The technology revolutionizes the retail shopping experience found in physical stores to make it more informed, more convenient and more secure.
This blending of physical and digital channels, of which we see the evidence every day, supports Diebold Nixdorf’s view of the future branch, in which contactless, mobile technology integrates seamlessly with traditional channels.
At last year’s Money 20/20 conference, we made waves by debuting our tiny, contactless ATM concept. As technology gets physically smaller, it will take up less of a footprint in the retail space — freeing up valuable room and allowing for greater incorporation into daily transactions and business practices.
Our concept, an ATM that is less than 10 inches wide, is part of our integrated view of the future of retail, which we call connected commerce. We also are working to stay ahead of trends and enable our customers to incorporate mobile solutions, such as the ability to build a shopping list at home or access funds with only a fingerprint or the nearby presence of a card, without having to swipe or insert it at all. This miniaturization, both in technology size and the ATM interaction process itself, is going to be a big part of the future of connected commerce.
Efficiency is key going forward. Heightened levels of customer service and deployment of new technologies are going to come together seamlessly only when consumers aren’t made to feel as if they need to jump through hoops to get there. Security, convenience, personalization and all these other keystone factors that we’ll be seeing in 2017 combine in the middle ground of automation. To create the personalized, seamless banking experience that customers desire, banks should automate everything they possibly can, and technology should be used to make every part of the customer experience better.
This will allow banks to use customer data to drive acquisition, retention and ultimately revenue. There is no need to write off automation as a danger to physical, human jobs. The automation that will be most successful must be integrated with the human experience, too. Instead of replacing humans with machines, financial institutions will rethink where humans are inserted into the banking process, using data-driven insights to understand when a person just needs to talk to another person, despite the proliferation of efficient digital tools.
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This post originally appeared in ATM Marketplace’s ATM Future Trends 2017.