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Retail Innovations Can Be a Little Creepy

Retail Innovations Can Be a Little CreepyAfter attending the recent 2013 BAI Retail Delivery last week in Denver, CO at the Denver Convention Center, I have to say, I experienced a few new product innovations which felt a little creepy.

First of all, to set the stage, there is a paradox in branch capacity planning right now. Retail wants more revenue, but branch transaction volumes have declined nearly 35%, according to a FMSI 2013 Teller Line Study, due to additional online products and RDC offerings; which mean less walk-in traffic. In response, technologists are trying to innovate the branch experience, while bringing a more personalized and sales-oriented encounter. In some respects, the branch is becoming less relevant, except when the customer “needs” to solve a problem and they want interaction. But let’s not kid each other; there are still plenty of transactions done at the branch level. Other than transactions, customers visit the branch for a number of reasons including inquiries, handling overdrafts and filling out paperwork for loans, just to name a few.

One of the many objectives at the conference was trying to devise innovative ways to keep the branch relevant for the long term. In order to deliver on the technologist’s dream, they want to know everything about you. They use big data and analytics to assess your behavior. This has basically become the “norm” with many vendors playing in this space. Using this client profile data can be extremely helpful as described in the Business & Customer Analytics Showcase. OrboGraph supports this vision by feeding payee and payer information from check images into databases to market FI services based on check writing behavior.

The creepiness comes into play when a technologist tries to map your every move and tie it into a “customer experience”. For example, imagine walking into a branch the day after looking into a loan and without introducing yourself a sales person rushes over to say, “Hello Mr. Smith, I saw you were looking for a loan yesterday, can I help you complete it?”

All in all, the conference covered a wide range of topics and gave all the technologies, behaviorists and innovators a chance to highlight their view of the future of the branch. Our goal is to optimize both new and existing environments with straight-through-processing automation efficiencies along with check data for highly targeted efforts in marketing and sales which feed what the market deems as appropriate.

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