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31/07/2014 Banking Innovation

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Umpqua Bank's new flagship store, which debuted in San Francisco in August 2013, challenges expectations of a typical bank branch, using technology and design to create a unique, customer-centric banking experience that engages customers and the larger community.

Innovation presentation

Umpqua’s Creative Strategies team led the project with partners in Portland and San Francisco to design a store that would evolve and reinvent Umpqua’s already innovative bank store concept. The new flagship, located at 450 Sansome Street, features external screens with live bus schedules and weather updates, an internal 20-foot interactive touchscreen wall featuring insights from local businesses and influencers, and unique space and design features throughout the store.

The San Francisco market is one of the most heavily banked cities in the US. Umpqua chose to debut its new store concept in San Francisco’s Financial District with the goal to create a bank that stands out both among customers and across the financial services industry.

Materials like copper, bamboo, graphite, glass and reclaimed wood reflect its inspiration, the unique history and flavour of San Francisco, and create a visual narrative. It weaves in elements like neighbourhood maps, a city skyline made of copper dots referencing physical currency and the nearby original Mint, and a mosaic-style mural with hand-drawn graphics representing the Umpqua Valley landscape where Umpqua Bank began.

The emphasis on design is a large part of Umpqua’s mission to provide a compelling in-store experience in an age where shopping has become a form of entertainment and digital technology is transforming how retailers interact with customers. Key spaces in the store include the Spark Resource Center, which offers public access to iPads and special chairs designed for private conversations, and the Demo Bar, which showcases products from featured businesses.

Earlier this year, Umpqua’s new flagship store was named Retail Design Institute’s 2013 Store of the Year, which recognises projects that best embody how design can be used as a tool to build brand awareness, trust and loyalty with customers. It marks the first time the award has been given to a financial institution.

Uniqueness of the project

A bank’s most effective billboard is its physical location, and Umpqua’s new flagship store design has disrupted the financial service industry and differentiated the company, with an innovative retail bank that advances all aspects of the branch, from design and operations to technology.

Umpqua’s newest expression of the bank store concept reinforces its unique business model: to provide the products and services of a large bank yet deliver them with the engagement of a community bank and the innovative customer experience of a retailer.

Umpqua’s thoughtful use of physical design elements to enhance its innovative customer experience includes customer amenities that go far beyond banking. This includes open use of the store for events and meetings, unexpected conveniences like securely parking your bike (or borrowing theirs), and a prominently displayed phone that rings directly on the desk of the company’s CEO.

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