Is your mobile banking experience already phygital?


According to a 2018 PwC survey, bank clients increasingly prefer using their mobile for different banking services. However, they expect digital and physical services to complement each other in real-time. Banks may do wise to put mobile first while adapting an overall strategy to the “phygital” customer and her needs.

The PwC survey, which included 4,000 respondents, reveals a couple of interesting tendencies, which banks should take into consideration when planning for the future. Most interestingly, online users of banking products are making a clear shift from being omni-channel to preferring mobile for their everyday banking needs. Last year, the same survey showed that 10% of online users preferred mobile over other channels. In 2018, this number has gone up to 15% – a clear shift and a tendency predicted to last.

“What we’re now seeing is that online dominant consumers are becoming. Mobile dominant consumers—and everyone else is shifting that way, too”.Mobile dominant consumers—and everyone else is shifting that way, too” (PwC 2018).

A perfect mobile experience is not enough

So what does this mean for banks? One conclusion drawn by the people behind the PwC survey is that banks must fundamentally rethink their design process to embrace the new priorities of the customers. A customer-obsessed mobile experience may, however, not be enough to attract and keep modern bank clients. The survey made it clear that a decisive factor when choosing a bank still remain branch location.

The “phygital” reality of things

This may seem paradoxical. On the one hand, costumers want a super flexible, digital experience delivered through their ever-present mobile phone. On the other hand, their choice of bank is still influenced by where the nearest bricks-and-mortar branch is located. In response, marketers have coined the term: “Phygital” combining the words “physical” and “digital”. The “phygital” reality of things effect how banks should approach their customer journey. Namely, that they need a holistic approach to customer touch-points whether physical or digital.

„Many banks still analyze the customer journey within a single channel. But we increasingly live in this phygital world, where the journey is more convoluted. “John scouts options on his laptop, begins filling out an application on his phone, and then walks into a branch“ (PwC 2018).

The competitive edge of a “phygital” mobile experience

The modern bank client is already used to a “phygital” experience. The app “Uber” enables him to locate, organize and pay for a car ride. Fingerprint logins or FaceID lets him log in to his mobile with the touch of a finger or through a facial scan. Why should he expect anything less from his mobile bank app? Banks should not just integrate the “phygital” perspective when analyzing their customer journey. They may do wise to consider creating full-blown “phygital” services for an competitive edge. Examples of this include offering direct peer-to-peer payment, interactive discounts triggered by location or using your mobile as a credit card to mention a few.

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