Mobile Monday: Engaging Prospective New Customers

mobile_phone_lineupHow important are mobile users to your sales efforts? 76% of Facebook’s ad revenue is from mobile (and it was considered by many to be a mobile laggard a few years ago).

Prospective customers are already visiting your website from their smartphones in massive numbers. Are you making a good first impression? Does the UI work across key devices? And more importantly, is there an easy-to-find path to mobile purchase?

This afternoon I visited 20 leading banking and personal finance sites (as a proxy for popularity, I used the 20 most downloaded free finance apps in the US Apple App Store, see list in footnote). And it was like a trip back in time before (desktop) websites had adopted browser design standards. By the numbers:

  • Excellent: 19 of the 20 had mobile optimized sites (Laggard = Navy Federal Credit Union)
  • Satisfactory: 14 of 18 had visible link for login (2 required a native app to login)
  • Needs work: 11 of 20 had a visible link to download the native app (including the 3 below)
  • Needs work: Only 3 of 20 used an initial “popup” screen that prompted to download the app, then the user needed to find a link to the non-app site
  • Needs work: 12 of 20 made a visible attempt to sell something
  • Fail: 6 of the 20 made a pretty marginal first impression including several of the biggest financial institutions in USA/World (American Express, Chase, Citibank, Mint, PNC, Wells Fargo)

My favorites (from this sample of 20, see footnote):

Bank: US Bank
Nice, engaging layout with clear path to more info; but missing link to download app

usbank_msite

Runner-up: TD Bank
Easy to find customer service, login, location; but missing link to app

tdbank_msite

Favorite non-bank: Credit Karma
Good branding, clear get started button; but no link to native app

credit_karma_msite

Least favorite FI: American Express (lots of competition for this one)
Too much emphasis on logging in, easy to miss card finder at bottom

amex_msite

Least favorite non-FI: Mint
Straightforward app link, but needs to better engage new user before offering the two choices; not very graphically interesting

mint_msite

——–

Top 20 apps (in order at US App Store, 5PM Pacific 31 Aug 2015): Chase, BofA, Wells Fargo, PayPal, Capital One, Venmo, Credit Karma, Square, Mint, Acorns, GEICO, Citibank, Discover, American Express, USAA, Progressive, US Bank, Navy Federal, TD Bank, PNC Bank

#RockChalk (for Karl, Joe & Mary)

Feature Friday: Umpqua Showcases the Closest Branch on its Website

umpqua_personal_home

I’m not a fan of bank branches (except Chase’s NE Seattle outpost, hi Ben). In my view, 80% of what goes on there is better done remotely, and the other 20% just doesn’t provide enough ROI. But if you do have good branches, you should at least use your digital presence to showcase them.

Probably the best example of growing a franchise using branching (at least in the United States over the past 20 years), is Umpqua Bank. It grew from a small community bank to a west coast regional on the back of its innovative branching strategy (Warning! Do not try to copy this, it’s not 1995 any more). So, it’s no surprise that they are one of the more adept FIs in showcasing their local, branch-based services.

Most large banks require users to enter a zip code to personalize the website experience. But even then, you generally have to go to a ATM/Branch finder to locate the closest branch. Umpqua wisely automates this process on both its desktop and mobile website, though it works more seamlessly on the desktop (see desktop example above).

umpqua_open_signThe bank uses visitor IP addresses to showcase branches in their city, but it goes one step further (at least in Chrome), by asking permission to use your location. If granted, Umpqua shows the exact branch closest to you. The branch name, address, and contact info are showcased right across the top of the screen. Finally, and I love this little touch, during open hours, there is an old-school “Open sign” in the right-hand corner. They could go one step further and add the temperature and maybe the time right below.

Those personalization techniques, while quite simple, makes prospective customers feel confident that the bank has a local orientation and really desires their business, whether it be digital or branch-focused.

Not everything Umpqua does is perfect. The bank also attempts to showcase local events on the left-hand column. But in my testing today, they were wildly off base. For instance, it listed a farmers market that was 40 miles away and didn’t mention the one within walking distance.