The banking shopper

Date of publication: June 15, 2009


The competitive landscape is increasingly cluttered for the financial service providers in general and banks in particular. if we talk specifically about the Middle east region, with higher GDP per capita, the financial sector has grown much faster over the last decade as compared to the population growth. The number of banks in the region has also grown steadily. To put this into perspective, in United Arab Emirates, a key market for financial service providers, there are 40+ banks for a bankable population of roughly three million. We can safely say that the level of competition in this sector for a finite customer pool is fierce. Estimates suggest that at any point of time at least one-third of the customers of any bank are likely to be considering a banking product, be it an entirely new product, or more units (like another savings account) of the product already subscribed. this means a sizeable market to be targeted and an opportunity to cross-sell products. if we consider the proportion of people who regularly visit their bank branches, we have a significant opportunity size to be tapped. also, since the banking customers are the same people who are shoppers for the FMCG marketers, they are already being exposed to state of the art in-store design, targeting and communication methods. Sooner rather than later their expectation levels are going to become influenced. In this context, it offers a wonderful opportunity for the banks to become the first mover and capitalize on the opportunity. However, are the banks cashing on this opportunity? to understand this, the authors studied 1. the layout and design of the bank branches, and 2. the behaviour of customers inside the bank branch.

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