The branch is dead: in the past week, several national banks in the U.S. announced plans to close thousands of regional branch offices.
Interestingly, the news was largely ignored. Perhaps it got lost in the news frenzy during the final weeks of a tight presidential election; perhaps branch closings were intended to leak out quietly because underneath it all, the announcement signals a fundamental shift of how people view banking.
After an aggressive expansion into neighborhood branches in the late nineties and early twothousands, consumer banks are now retreating from the branch network in such a haste that it cannot be explained by mere cost savings. The move away from the local branch signals a more fundamental shift of consumer behavior from traditional in-person banking to online and the mobile app.
In other words, the Metro is the new branch. And consumers are very comfortable conducting their everyday money business on the mobile phone. Anytime. Anywhere.
One banking client put it this way: we are seeing more people in our mobile app in one hour than we get foot traffic in our branches combined in a week. And with that shift comes a new challenge. Engaging and interacting with people on a mobile phone is difficult. Not only does it require a different skill set, it requires different tools and systems that can handle the real-time requirements and contextual elements that can make the mobile experience helpful, engaging and highly personal.
BusinessInsider picked up on this topic in a recent article explaining in detail the new challenges for app developers and mobile marketers and how Swrve is designed to help brands deliver a meaningful customer experience for mobile onboarding, engagement and re-engagement.
"Consumers are more difficult to engage today, as most have dozens of apps installed on their devices yet spend most of their time in just a select handful of favorites."