An interesting survey regarding holiday shopping is also directly applicable to how banks and credit unions take care of their consumers. According to e-commerce tech company Radial, if a consumer is shopping online and finds a product out of stock, only 14% would still shop at the same site. A smaller percentage (5%) said they were likely to shop anywhere else. However, 81% of consumers indicated they would go to a competitor’s sight in search of this particular product.

While this is a compelling statistic for traditional retailers (like Target or Walmart) what does this mean for banks and credit unions?

Plenty.

Banks and credit unions must now think of themselves as retailers, no different in many regards from traditional retailers such as Starbucks, Best Buy or even Amazon.com. We are simply in the business of selling financial products and services instead of coffee, flat screen televisions and books. Accordingly, the survey offered the following advice for retailers: “Marketers and advertisers should take note that consumers expect convenience, exceptional customer service and a personalized experience at every stage of the purchase funnel.”

What does the purchase funnel look like at your bank or credit union? Are you providing something exceptional for consumers at every stage?

For example, you may think you are convenient for your consumers, but are you really? In the past, convenience was defined more in terms of brick-and-mortar branches and hours of operation. Today, convenience is defined electronically. Is your app up to date and easy-to-use? Is your website mobile-optimized? Do you offer online chat (like Truity Credit Union) for your consumers’ ease-of-use?

You must also consider the other stages of the purchase funnel in your overall consumer experience. Is your consumer service exceptional? Is it personalized? Does it end with the close of a transaction or do you pursue deeper and more meaningful relationships with your consumers on a regular basis?

Banks and credit unions can learn a great deal from traditional retailers, if they open their hearts, minds and ears to the information. To bury one’s head in the sand when it comes to shifting consumer demands is a quick path to irrelevancy.

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