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By Ashley Murdoch, CEO, Corethree

When it comes to mobile devices, the preference for features beyond voice calls and messaging has been illustrated in a recent survey, where 88 percent of millennial respondents answered “yes” to the question “would you rather have an unlimited data phone-plan than unlimited calls and SMS?” And it could be argued that even more compelling than calling, messaging, and music and video streaming, is a mobile’s ability to provide its user with a variety of ways to discover and purchase all kinds of consumer products and services.

A mobile device’s ability to offer so much more than communication services is one of the reasons for the incredible speed at which consumers have adopted mobile digital platforms. It’s the convenience of being able to do almost anything from wherever you are that is so highly prized. But the mind-boggling plethora of available apps undermines this desire for convenience – a move away from apps that offer only one type of product or service would help.

The rise of the app for everything

China’s ‘super app,’ WeChat, started life as a simple messaging app but today, through third-party application programming interfaces (APIs), it offers its 1 billion active monthly users (as of 2018 and counting) the ability to do everything from mobile banking to social networking, booking taxis or a doctor’s appointment, find a date, order food and lots more. With 30 percent of world revenue estimated to be generated through open API-enabled mobile app channels by 2025, is it time to start expanding your app so that it can offer more than one service?

In the world of banking, Russia’s Tinkoff Bank offers its eight million customers mobile app access to a ‘financial ecosystem’ that offers a full range of both financial and lifestyle services for individuals and businesses. In addition to the ability to analyse and plan personal spending or invest savings, users can earn loyalty programme bonuses, book trips, buy movie tickets, make restaurant reservations and much more. The inclusion of these services is helping Tinkoff build a positive reputation,as well as distancing it from the historic perception of the banking industry for being dry and narrow focused.

From offering mobile tickets for events and experiences, as well as partnering with local transport operators to also offer tickets for how to get there, banks and FinServes can increase customer satisfaction. The mobile distribution channel is a whole new way to generate additional revenue streams and build customer loyalty.

How to get on-board

Although traditionally conservative in outlook, banks and FinServe companies needn’t shy-away from the opportunities presented by mobile app marketing. Through the utilisation of open APIs, integrating lifestyle products and services into a mobile banking app is now not only possible, but with the right mobile service technology partner, is a straight-forward undertaking.

The UK deadline for being ready for open API implementation is September 2019, so now is the time to be considering the options. One approach is to look for an experienced third-party mobile service provider which already uses open APIs and can offer to test integration as well as conduct marketing trials. A mobile ticketing provider is a great place to start for a bank or FinServe looking to expand into other digital marketplaces by offering tickets to events, as they will have everything in place to handle secure ticketing fulfilment plus the back-engine capability to provide data insights into customer preferences.

Don’t forget the data benefits

Data is the key to transforming a single-service banking app into a valuable data-driven marketing communications channel for sharing tailored, personalised promotions direct with the mobile account holder. As personalisation becomes an ever more important part of the customer experience it’s worth remembering that simply knowing someone’s name is not enough. In one survey,only 8 percent of respondents said they would bother to engage with a brand if they were addressed by name, and only 7 percent said they would reply to a birthday message.

It takes experience, combined with an intelligent use of data drawn from mobile app interactions, to create offers that result in more frequent interactions, the opportunity for up- and cross-selling and ultimately happier, more loyal long-term customers. Data provides the insights to ensure that offers are timely and pertinent – and the more varied the data points that can be included, the better. Think of a consumer checking their balance on their banking app, seeing that they have some extra funds and so being happy to receive a message about some special offers for outings. When their outing has been chosen, they then receive a discount from the local transport operator for travelling their and back as well as the offer of their favourite drink free in the bar next door to the venue. With data insights driving this level of personalisation, it’s no wonder satisfaction levels and customer loyalty increase.

In this brave new world, banks and FinServe companies would be well advised to partner with an existing mobile ticketing provider with proven technology and a robust digital platform already up and running. With this in place, maybe the UK’s first WeChat or Tinkoff app could be on its way?

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