What banks can teach high street retailers about going deeper into digital

So, how do you become the retail marketer with the upper hand?
Surprisingly, you can look at what banks have done. Since First Direct became the first bank to be fully telephone and internet-based in the 90s, banks have been innovating online and with privacy-driven technological innovations.
Here’s how to follow their lead…

Bam! A fist connects with a face and sends someone flying across the ring.

This MMA brawl is unfairly matched from the start. One opponent clearly has the upper hand; bigger, faster and more skilled.

Look at modern retailers, and you’ll see similar results; large online stores running high-street-only counterparts out of the water by going fully digital.

So, how do you become the retail marketer with the upper hand?

Surprisingly, you can look at what banks have done. Since First Direct became the first bank to be fully telephone and internet-based in the 90s, banks have been innovating online and with privacy-driven technological innovations.

Here’s how to follow their lead…

The sheer growth of digital marketplaces

Even before the virus, in-person shopping was in decline. Bricks and mortar locations have been left in the dust by the explosion of online fashion boutiques and second-hand marketplaces alone; nowadays, people can type their ideal outfit or item into Google and find over a dozen retailers immediately in Search.

Due to COVID-19, countries shut down to an extent we have never seen before. There’s a huge suave of data that shows that people still do not feel entirely safe going into stores, despite every attempt to regain confidence. Instead, they’re flocking online to buy everything from toothpaste to tools.

High street retailers must follow where their customers go, and ecommerce is the high street, the supply chain and the brand experience today.

I’m a high street retailer, how can banks help me?

While the two trades seem miles apart, retail management teams can use banks as a model to shift online. From creating stellar and secure website experiences to naturally boosting user engagement, we could all learn something from online financial institutions.

When the 2021 consumer banking reports hit the web, the rise of online and mobile account usage surprised no one. In fact, many banks used the statistics to ramp up their already burgeoning online programs.

Here’s what they’ve done.

1. Utilize human forward customer service techniques

While you’ll be using the internet to sell your products, remember that your clients are still human. No one likes listening to a robot list off their call options or being put on hold for hours.

Institutions like First Republic Bank, are known for their customer service techniques that centre clients first. The management not only limited the usage of unrealistic sounding voices, but also gave clients a variety of contact methods including email and an online chat room.

Prioritize finding an in-person customer service team to help your shoppers, even if that means answering calls yourself.

When you’re setting up your online retail shopping space, try to predict the kinds of questions your customers will ask. You can create a FAQ section similar to Varo Bank.

2. Create pages for each store or region

As you go about the website creation process, ask yourself the locations of your primary clients. Once you have the data, tailor the pages of your website to each geographical demographic.

Institutions like Chase Bank, have had massive success localizing their branch websites. While they use the pages to drive foot traffic, high street retailers can use localized pages to increase sales.

3. Made SEO their best friend

With the shift to the internet, financial institutions knew they had to get the language right. Thus, banks like Capital One started used SEO to market themselves as a technology-centred bank; now the institution is one of the 11 largest in the United States of America.

What do people search for when they want to buy your clothing products? Do they look for summer dresses, casual suits, or children’s garments? When you’re transferring your business online, you need to make the most out of search engine optimization.

4. Never shying away from trends

Digital high street banks are not afraid to get trendy and write content relevant to their users. Financial institutions like Monzo have created educational and insightful blog posts to keep their online account holders engaged.

Create written, recorded, or uniquely formatted content and experiences to shape your business brand and build trust within your community.

Ready for 2021, retailers?

Even with the brilliant examples led by small and large banking institutions alike, taking the first step to go 100% online is nerve-wracking. High street banks have taken strides over two decades to make sure that they are connecting with their clients properly from anywhere in the world. The institutions offer a brilliant blueprint for high street retailers looking to create a high-quality online presence, whether through a website, social media, or search engine results.