The Customer Effect

Samsung is working with banks to roll out retail pop-ups

  • Samsung has been working with bank branches for five years, now they're working on expanding their retail presence to pop-ups
  • Though Samsung is a consumer electronics company, it's helping transform the customer experience, first with mobile payments and now with branch experience
Samsung is working with banks to roll out retail pop-ups

Banks may soon be experimenting with a new way to engage with customers: retail pop-ups.

Samsung’s head of sales for financial services, Reginald Jones, told Tearsheet that the company is in talks with its financial services customers about rolling out retail pop-ups “sooner than in a year.”

Those could be in a variety of formats, he said: a bus promoting a certain bank that drives a number of customers to an NFL game; a university campus presence where banks look to attract customers as they become of banking age; a shopping center that normally just has ATMs where banks could roll up for a weekend service to attract these potential new customers. Samsung, the consumer electronics giant, provides the devices that change how bank employees conduct business — to better influence the customer outcome.

“Pop-ups become interesting when you track your financial customers through their life stages and they start to need more sophisticated planning and products,” Jones said. As young people move up their professional ladder or get married, for example, their financial needs change and beyond basic checking and credit accounts they may also need car loans, home loans or small business loans.

Pop-ups are one way to reach younger customers who are less likely to come into fixed branches. “Maybe one brick-and-mortar isn’t the best way, but you could have a flexible network where you’ve got a flagship brick-and-mortar location, a specialty center and a mobile pop-up center like a roving reporter, moving around as needed,” said Jones.

Samsung has been working with bank branches for the last five years, incorporating its display screens into retail spaces as they take old signage and posters and move them to digital platforms. In some branches, greeters and bankers are also using Samsung tablets, he said.

The consumer electronics giant most obviously got its foot in the financial services door with its mobile devices — specifically, through the launch of its mobile pay product, Samsung Pay, in 2015. Samsung Pay counts the largest U.S. banks among its 18 bank partners and is now live in 19 countries total. At the same time, bank branches began evolving into more compact, digitally oriented spaces that incorporate new technology and help branch employees focus on improving the customer experience.

Jones said he works directly with retail executives at various banks. Historically, their sphere of influence is the physical channel for the bank: branches and ATMs. Samsung is showing them how they can mobilize their branch staff and continue to compete on retail experience within their branch walls and out.

“When we have a conversation about pop-ups they get very excited because the pop-up is this new physical channel that makes sense within their purview and yet offers a unique differentiator for that bank,” he said. “That is an exciting way to tell their teams, managers and shareholders they have a new way of engaging with the public.”

The last two weeks alone have given people a glimpse into pop-ups’ potential as banks like Wells Fargo and Bank of America responded to weather crises in Texas and Florida by deploying “mobile financial centers and mobile ATMs based on the areas of post-impact need.”

But perhaps one of the biggest cases for the pop-up, according to Jones, is that it doesn’t necessarily have to run on the technological infrastructure used by the branch. It would have a wifi network and access security, and an interface on employee desktops and laptops driven by an existing and trusted core processing system from a Fiserv or FIS.

“Usually if you change one thing you have to reconstruct everything,” Jones said. This way, banks are “free from constraints of technology infrastructure they have within four walls. We’ve run pop-ups so we understand questions you should ask, timelines you should be aware of and data security.”

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