HSBC tests smartwatches as a way to cut wait times
To sell more smartwatches, Samsung is eyeing the wrists of bank employees.
The brand inked a deal with HSBC in September to customize 12 Samsung Gear S3 watches for HSBC bankers at the company’s Fifth Avenue branch in New York City. The custom watches were formatted with messaging apps designed to allow bankers to communicate more quickly, cutting down customer wait times. The technology works by sending messages between employees. For instance, the HSBC receptionist will ping a wealth manager once a customer arrives. If he or she is running late, the manager will reply with a pre-written text, letting the greeter offer the client a cup of coffee or inquire about their other accounts.
And as customers are moving increasingly toward digital-banking solutions — 28 percent of Americans in 2018 used a digital-only bank, according to J.D. Power — there’s more pressure on physical bank branches to improve customer service. Tackling wait times is a start.
Banks are trying new tactics both in-store and online to both keep current customers and recruit younger savers who may be tempted by the allure of no-fee, digital-only accounts. HSBC earlier this year rolled out the robot Pepper at its flagship location, to in ironic fashion add a “human touch” to banking. And JPMorgan Chase in June went full-bore on digital by creating a digital banking app from the ground-up.
Jeremy Balkin, head of innovation for HSBC, said the pilot program has already reduced wait times at the three-story branch, though he declined to specify by how much. More watches could be on the horizon: Balkin said the pilot has been going well enough to grab the attention of HSBC branches in other epicenters of the financial world, including London and Hong Kong.
“How can humans and machines not work against each other, but work together, to deliver a superior employee and a superior customer experience?” said Balkin.
The idea is to cut down on the time bank employees run back and forth tracking down clients. Instead, the smartwatches will ideally assist bankers in using their time more efficiently — which ought to cut down on wait times that can be vexing for customers. To protect customer data, the devices aren’t connected to the bank’s wifi, but instead, run off an LTE network, and they’re not plugged into specific customer accounts.
The deal is a leg up for both companies. For Samsung, the deal boosts its smartwatch business. While Samsung is the No. 2 producer of smartwatches globally, trailing only Apple, it trails Apple by quite a lot. In 2017, Samsung sold about 3.6 million smartwatches, down from Apple’s 17.7 million, according to IDC data. Samsung’s pivot toward business-to-business programs is one attempt at making up market share. Samsung began shifting away from its core smartphone business toward the internet of things in 2015, as increasing smartphone competition ate away its market presence.
“Data in the hands of employees means better, faster decision-making and knowing your customers better,” said Julie Godfrey, Samsung’s U.S. lead for finance solutions and innovation.
Subscribe to the Digiday Retail Briefing: A weekly email with news, analysis and research covering the modernization of retail and e-commerce.
Cheat Sheet: Shopify’s Shop Pay integration will share customer purchase data with Google
Allowing retailers to sell for free, and adding more payment options, makes Google itself more of a shopping tool.
LG kicks off series of live stream shopping events produced in-house
If a consumer sees something they like, they can click on the product and will be taken out to the LG website to complete their purchase.
Loyal and App-y: How QSRs are leaning into rewards programs to boost mobile orders and sales
Brands were forced to find ways to reach customers in their homes and fast-food restaurants, including McDonald’s and Burger King, found answers by investing in loyalty programs.
SponsoredHow advertisers are shifting mindsets to succeed amid iOS 15 and other identity challenges
On top of the impending cookie deprecation, Apple’s recent iOS 15 changes are causing concern for many advertisers by affecting pixels, IP addresses and email addresses. While these upcoming changes may be concerning for many, shifting mindsets and getting away from a binary way of thinking with solutions being 100% contextual or 100% universal IDs […]
Cheat sheet: Etsy beats earnings, turns focus to adding more revenue sources
Etsy is still growing beyond a blast of mask sales last year and now needs to manage 4.7 million sellers and 90 million buyers.
Member ExclusiveDespite hungry VCs, DTC brands are rethinking their fundraising approach
This is the latest installment of the DTC Briefing, a weekly Modern Retail column about the biggest challenges and trends facing the volatile direct-to-consumer startup world. Join Modern Retail+ to get access to the DTC briefing–as well as all articles, research and more. Before 2020, some founders and investors were starting to warn that most consumer […]