A combination of the ECB’s interest rate policy, progressive disruption in the industry as well as radical changes in competition structures owing to digitalisation invariably means – financial institutions are under pressure. Changes in customer behaviour are so immense that classic business models of banks and insurances are simply no longer functioning.
It was against this backdrop that Serviceplan established weFinance in the weShop, opened in 2014, together with partners Cisco, Ernst & Young (EY) Financial Services Advisory, Vitra as well as weShop.one. The laboratory-styled showroom will act as a point of sale for financial services in which real and virtual worlds can be combined intelligently.
Munich, November 16th 2016 — Up to a few years ago there were still more than 50,000 bank and savings bank branches in the Federal Republic. Now that number has fallen to just around 34,000 – and the downward trend is continuing. Backed by numerous studies, experts have for years been highlighting the enormous need for banks and insurances to accelerate the pace of own digitalisation, as the established systems are simply no longer functioning. Added to this is the ECB’s interest rate policy, which is putting pressure on financial institutions and their business models.
Europe’s leading owner-managed communications agency Serviceplan attracted a lot of attention two years ago following installation of the weShop when, together with a number of strong partners, it demonstrated the vision for a modern retail outlet or walk-in online store. Now the weFinance scenario is set to accomplish the digital transformation of a completely different sector: the concept of the modern point of sale for financial services is not intended to replace the branch store, rather to give it new meaning. Using methods such as simplification and gamification, the inherently non-tangible products will "come to life” with weFinance. At the same time, different topic islands in the room provide a backdrop for the different Allfinanz content – for example, real estate financing, asset formation, stock prices or insurance. They are equipped with bar modules, integrated screens as well as lift & learn shelves. Existing tablets as well as an interactive advice desk provide for a more in-depth introduction into each topic, while the "Call an Expert" in-house video tool development is available on demand. The lounge offers a discreet retreat for a confidential consultation with one of the consultants on-site.
As Ronald Focken, the Managing Director of the Serviceplan Group explains: “Alternative payment options with the Bitcoin system, products from telecommunication providers and players such as PayPal or the innovations of the FinTech and InsurTech sector – a changing sector and changing customer behaviour call for new forms of customer interaction. The digital transformation processes of our time require new methods of communication. What is needed is an individualised approach across all channels that is relevant for the recipient.” He goes on to say: “Because we have to deal with this issue on a daily basis, projects such as weFinance are not only a playground and test laboratory for forward-thinking action, rather an important stage for exchanging ideas with and providing consultancy for our customers. We are delighted to be able to count on the expertise of Cisco and Vitra for weFinance also and are proud to welcome EY Financial Services Advisory on board as a partner.”
As one of the leading consultants in the financial sector, EY Financial Services Advisory has in-depth knowledge of the backgrounds and processes involved in the international financial industry. EY Financial Services Advisory brings its profound expertise in the financial services sector to weFinance along with its project experience in areas such as sales processes, financial products, omnichannel customer journey, digitalisation and regulation in the financial services sector.
“In the financial services sector, the branch store will remain a key interface to the customer in the future in the framework of omnichannel strategies and will be an indispensable element for financial service providers in terms of their sales. However, financial service providers face special challenges in redesigning and digitalising the store network owing to rapidly changing customer needs, economic challenges on the earning and cost side as well as the existing IT infrastructure,” says Ralf Temporale, Partner at EY Financial Services Advisory, and responsible for the Strategy, Customer & Operations consultancy divisions in Germany.
“The sale of non-tangible financial products, in particular, requires innovative solutions to successfully implement the concept of a digitalised POS networked across all channels. The weFinance concept make a significant contribution in this regard. The development of forward-looking customer journeys in the financial services sector is improved sustainably thanks to the possibility to validate digitalised POS concepts in an innovative, laboratory-style environment,” says Thomas Onken, Senior Manager at EY Financial Services Advisory.
As a world-leading IT equipment supplier, Cisco provides both the technological infrastructure and the analysis software for weFinance. This is carried out in the framework of the “Digital Germany” initiative, which will see Cisco invest 500 million US dollars in the acceleration of digitalisation in Germany. The program covers the focal points of innovation, security and education. weFinance is a further milestone for “Digital Germany” for speeding up the pace of innovations from and in Germany.
The digital POS agency weShop.one is responsible for conceptual design and project management. The experts in the start-up know how to transform the multichannel behaviour of consumers for brick-and-mortar retailing and how to create the experience customers want.
In addition to these three partners, the fourth partner Vitra is responsible for the overall interiors and furnishings in the room. Thanks to intelligent shopfitting and display systems, the company is asserting itself once more as an innovative partner in shopfitting.
At the 2016 German Commerce Congress (Deutscher Handelskongress) Gala, the weShop concept was awarded the Business Innovation Prize (2nd place) in the presence of 750 guests. The distinction was awarded by the German Business Association (HDE). In the first step the jury had determined three finalists, chosen from 40 applicants. The finalists were then able to make pitches to the gala's audience and received their placements after a vote. Ronald Focken, managing director of the Serviceplan Group (in the picture on the left) and Christian Rößler, managing partner of weShop.one, see the coveted distinction as an endorsement for the partner project:
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EY is one of the leading management and strategy consultancies in Germany and Europe with its “Financial Services Advisory” consultancy division, which is specifically focused on the financial services sector. With just under 500 consultants specialising in the financial services sector in Germany, for example, EY Financial Services Advisory supports the leading financial institutions as well as FinTechs along the entire value chain, from strategy development to realisation, process optimisation as well as implementation of regulatory requirements. http://www.ey.com/home
With some 3,400 employees, 31 locations around the world, and a turnover of €340 million, the Serviceplan Group is Europe’s largest owner-managed or partner-led agency group, and its most broad-based. Their service portfolio follows the vision of ‘building best brands’ and spans all communication disciplines. Brand strategists, digital experts and media professionals work by following a unique, fully integrated agency model, hand in hand with specialists in CRM, content marketing, sales, social media or PR. Innovations and innovative projects have always played a central role at Serviceplan. The agency attracted a lot of attention in October 2014 following installation of the weShop, the first walk-in online store, which demonstrated in the form of a fashion store with clothing from the fashion brand Bogner how the real and virtual world can be intelligently combined in brick-and-mortar retailing. 252 different companies and a total of more than 1100 visitors have already visited the showroom today, which has from time to time also showcased Canon and thus the electronics store scenario. www.serviceplan.com/en/
Vitra products are also incorporated in weFinance. As a partner to the retail trade, Vitra has been working for more than eighty years to enhance the attractiveness, quality and productivity of sales and consultation rooms. The intelligent shopfitting and display system Invisible 6 P/L from Vitra is obscured in the weFinance walls. The flexible system was previously configured for fashion and consumer electronics at the same location without the need for major reconstruction. That’s because the Invisible 6 P/L panels with their clip fittings can be exchanged at any time for other or new panels in different sizes and colours. The integrated 24 NV power rails at the same time supply light to the product or power for tablets and monitors. www.vitra.com
weShop.one is the digital POS implementing agency.
ByteWorx has been a reliable IT specialist since 1997. The international company focuses on developing web-based applications for the financial sector and is the leading provider of stock market games. These are among the largest in Europe and include up to 60,000 portfolios and 1,300,000 trades. Some 17,000,000 charts are supplied every day. ByteWorx has implemented the gamification concept with a stock market game tailored to the weFinance customer journey. http://www.byteworx.de/
Erteco combines hardware, software and communication in a creative and unprecedented way, thus enabling the digital future. Erteco has united the hardware and software components that lie behind all touchpoints on the customer journey. http://www.erteco.de/en/
Since 2011, Tangible Display, multi-award company, promotes a vision of the future where physical meets digital. Tangible Display creates intuitive, direct and effective interactions with the digital world using multitouch, object detection and tangible scenarios. Retail Banking continue to struggle to connect with consumers. In a survey by the CEB, one of the biggest drivers that connected a consumer with a bank was shown to be “decision simplicity.” Very simply put, how easy it is for consumer to acquire trustworthy information about a bank’s product. What they really want is simplicity and what better way to access that information than to touch a product and have that information literally at your fingertips.
Our solution, Tangible Data is a tangible multiuser database exploration and manipulation environment. It is designed to turn the financial data analysis and visualisation an interactive and intuitive task. Tangible Data opens a new future in data analysis-exploration, via touches and objects, keeping the power and complexity of one of the most advanced customisable statistical softwares.
“If we talk about the retail banking environment, our technology gives banks a better presentation of their product, as well as it gives better understanding and communication with the clients,” said Ricaut CEO Tangible Display. “ It gives to our customers the opportunity to make their product more noticeable, to engage their clients. We empower our users. We fluidify their interactions. We break the wall between physical and digital world.”
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