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17. August 2017

Business without a home?

When the baker sells newspapers, the petrol station vends bread rolls and the drugstore provides loans

Everyone against everyone else, and everything everywhere at any time – this is a maxim of the market. There are more and more attempts to lend money other than via the banks. For banks this means: how to entice the customers to return to their branches? This requires new ideas. Offline and online.

Point of Sale: Starting point for business

What do fresh bread rolls, daily newspapers and loans have in common? Exactly – their unusual points of sale. These products are no longer solely offered in specialist shops, but wherever you find a high level of customer demand and corresponding customer attention. And this has been efficiently thought out, even if gas stations mutate to grocery stores with connected fuel sales or bakeries to newspaper vendors with bakery goods on offer. It is scarcely recognizable here, who was the hen and who was the egg. Or more specifically: whether bakers first took newspapers into their assortment or newspaper kiosks bread rolls.

Financial products have not come that far yet – even if drugstore chain Rossmann has started to provide small loans, its financial partner Deutsche Bank does not deal with toothpaste or cleaning agents. However, the borders are becoming more and more blurred in the money business. Or is it more correct to speak of a more efficient use of the point of sale? The C&A textile trading chain has held a bank license since 2009 and offers its C&A installment loan up to a volume of 75,000 euros. Coffee roasting house, Tchibo, refined its coffee offer with the “Clever-Credit” of the Royal Bank of Scotland – cappuccino with money on top. And in the Bertelsmann Book Club, readers can find tempting offers from the CreditPlus Bank.

Informal and tempting

Borrowing money from elsewhere than a bank has its appeal: application forms can be filled in easily in an informal atmosphere, without anyone trying to impose a consultation. There is no possibility to compare the individual interest rate you must pay, but hardly anyone even bothers to ask this question – and even if they do: the deal cannot be changed, the main thing being that the money is granted. To provide a loan in an unusual place is worthwhile, at least for the companies involved. And they show that money matters do not automatically migrate to the Internet, but are still in demand at real points of sale.

There are two reasons why the point of sale issue is important for financial institutions.

  • How, with which new products and with which add-ons can I ensure the continuance of existing points of sale and improve the attractiveness for visitors?
  • How and with which partner can an expansion be effectively implemented – at which new contact points outside the bank do the offers reach potential new customers?

New situations, new interfaces

All classical banks are currently faced with the need to finance their branch networks and turn them into profit centres. Despite all the spending constraints, it is important to continue to be the direct contact for those customers who are looking for personal advice and do not want to clarify important financial issues online. And the use of Robo-Advisors will not really help either.

To attract more people into the branches, various concepts have already been tried out. The spectrum ranges from the trade with Tchibo coffee over postal services to the sale of holidays trips or bread rolls. But whether this is beneficial for the integrity and corporate image of the respective company is anyone’s guess. Currently, a savings bank in Hamburg is trying to lure customers into their branches by providing free lockers for their purchases. Anyone who wants to store their bags while they stroll through the shops, may also take the flyer for the special loan on offer.

Product diversification and service optimization

Gas station owners rake in higher profits with their shop products than with their fuel sales. This does not necessarily have to happen in the case of bank branches. Their classical core products should provide a solid financing. Nevertheless, it is useful to look around for related, reputable products or to develop those which help to secure the existing points of sale.

This applies to offline as well as online: The ING-DIBa gives its online visitors information about the insurance app Clark on the start page of its website. This itself does not get a new customer into the clutches of the bank, but the bank will profit from it in the form of the commission it receives from the newly generated business transactions of Clark Germany GmbH. A very clever use of the existing digital point of sale.

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