Energy bills, food prices, national insurance, and inflation are all on the rise causing mounting financial pressures and concerns for consumers. As the cost of the weekly food shop goes through the roof and the price of filling up the car creeps, consumers are looking for better ways to manage their finances and find the best savings options possible, creating new opportunities for their banking relationships.
Our new data from a poll of over 2,000 UK consumers finds that almost three quarters (73%) plan to shop around more this year in search of the best deals. At the same time, over half (57%) are checking their banking apps more often now than they did a year ago.
While consumers are forced to juggle these new demands on their finances, it creates a valuable opportunity for banks to utilise their platforms for good, building deeper relationships and positioning themselves as a resource for help.
As banks have transitioned to online and mobile banking in recent years, the ‘face’ of banks is fading. Whilst digital banking has revolutionised the way banks can reach customers, whenever and wherever they are, it has made it increasingly difficult to build and maintain the same deep and highly personal relationships.
With inflationary pressures eating into earnings, consumers are increasingly looking to their banks for financial advice and resources. They’re particularly seeking personalised approaches that are tailored to their specific financial situations – from help with budgeting to advice on the best ways to maximise savings.
LISTEN IN: Campbell Shaw, SVP FI & Publisher Partnerships, discusses enriching banks’ customer relationships during difficult times on the Commerce Code podcast.
This cost-of-living crisis provides both a motivation and an opportunity for banks to reconnect with their customers. So how can they best help?
Banks have access to a wealth of purchase insights and by evaluating which brands are seeing the biggest rise in average transaction values, they can see exactly where customers are feeling cost pressures. Banks can then introduce personalized offers that can help address these, from discounts on petrol to cash back on the brands they visit the most, helping them play a key role in supporting their customers where it matters.
And it isn’t just about the positive savings impact for the consumer; there are clear benefits for the bank too.
Bank of America is one example that is truly leading the way – its Preferred Rewards Program has a clear tiered total benefits program for cross-product engagement, meaning that as a customer’s balance grows, so will the benefits a customer receives.
To realise the true value of loyalty programs, banks must adapt their mindset to view them not from the transactional lens of “purchase this and get something in return,” but from the perspective of providing support and creating a point of relevance in a customer’s life. The rising cost of living provides that sweet spot of relevancy for banks.
As the cost-of-living crisis continues to wage war on consumer’s purse strings, there’s a clear opportunity for banks to utilise the data they already have, showing their customers that they truly understand their individual financial pressures and can support them.
Rather than just powering transactions in the background, banks can – and should – utilise the purchase intelligence they have at their fingertips to play an active role in supporting consumers through the cost-of-living squeeze. The result for banks? More financially stable, engaged, and loyal customers.