Digital banking—customer interactions and transactions that take place via web, mobile and other digital channels—is no longer just a complementary element of retail banking services in the US, according to a new eMarketer report, “Digital Banking Trends: With Consumer Preferences in Flux, Is Omnichannel the Answer?”
For more than a decade, banks have used digital touchpoints to provide more convenience to customers, and, in turn, wring operational costs out from common transactions like bill payments and account transfers. However, many customers still show a strong preference for having convenient access to a physical banking center, especially when seeking out financial advice or performing more complex, emotionally involved transactions.
An omnichannel approach—serving and engaging with customers in an “anytime, anywhere” fashion—is being touted as a way to give banks of all types and sizes more flexibility to meet consumers’ constantly evolving preferences.
According to a November 2012 study from the Federal Reserve Board, branches and ATMs—a physical banking footprint—are still widely used by consumers. Eighty-five percent reported visiting a bank branch in the past 12 months, the most out of any category. Nevertheless, just as many respondents used online banking as they did an ATM—74%—underscoring the importance of digital channels to banks and their customers.