Innovative trends in retail banking

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28/05/2018 Study
The Distribution & Marketing Innovation Awards is a joint initiative from Accenture and Efma introduced in 2012 to identify and appraise the most innovative projects in Retail Banking at global level. The fifth edition of the program, with its closing ceremony held in Rome, has proven once again to be “the place to be” for banks looking for showcasing their most innovative projects, networking and benchmarking with their peers and taking inspirations to further evolve their innovation agenda.

But a closer look at the competing projects unveils something more: the program turned to be a powerful asset for innovation lovers and industry analysts. With more than 180 banks competing and ~480 innovations collected at worldwide level, the program is a recognized, powerful tool able to depict the evolution roadmap of the whole industry, showing where banks are placing their bets and discovering whether previous initiatives have proven to be a successful or not.

Looking at 2017 banks’ innovation efforts via a pure analytical perspective, it’s crystal clear that those trends spotted in 2016 – from the role of bots as a new interaction model, to the spread of niche-specific value propositions or the open approach fostered by PSD2 – still prove to be vivid and embedded in banks’ innovation DNA. But we are not merely witnessing to a confirmation of the trends outlined last year: we can say it loud that banks have brought them to the next level and new sparks are rising. Dawning trends in 2016 have now reached a greater level of maturity, while those already widespread now embrace more sophisticated initiatives producing tangible results and creating new revenues streams. That’s why we can talk about “the new made newer”, a sort of step ahead in the bank’s innovation effort around some fields of consensus.

Let’s briefly have a look at how innovation trends evolved and reached a greater level of maturity and spread: chatbots - previously playing a pivotal role in automating customer service and easing digital interactions - are now being used to boost acquisition and generate new leads, thus contributing to improve the bank BOTtom line. In the niche banking space, traditional customer segmentation criteria are being overcome with tons of banks moving towards the concept of lifestyle and mindset segmentation, that lets them identify new, underserved micro niches and shape dedicated propositions. SMEs are now at the core of every bank’s digital transformation path, with incumbents starting to embrace a collaborative approach with fintech ecosystem players to offer value-added services and evolve the core offering. Open banking went from being the “talk of the day” to a more structured approach resulting in the creation of real new “value proposition interface” for third parties.

Personal finance management solutions after years of low adoption seem to have gathered their momentum by shifting their focus on coaching customers rather than just informing them, this turning transactions into actions.

And eventually workforce, the human touch of banking, that is being blended and powered up with artificial intelligence to deliver a consistent, WOW experience.

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