But our study also shows the difficulty the industry has in converting this online shopping activity into sales. The shopping process takes more effort than consumers expect, dragging decision-making out over three months or more in many cases. At the end of three months 30% of our sample concluded that they would not bother switching at all.
The problem is that the current account products currently on offer are not well suited to the online marketplace. They are often complex: difficult to evaluate and compare online. Many also fail to deliver any tangible sense of value-for-money, a common motivator amongst those who go online to shop for this product.
Bundled accounts in particular, which were pioneered many years ago as a way of migrating loyal customers to a higher-value relationship through an in-branch sale, look out of place in the online environment.
We also note in our report that most current accounts, which could be a flagship product to show what’s different and engaging about banking brands, all too often have a ‘me-too’ feel about them. Banks which are serious about winning share through online need to get serious about product design.
OSS Current Accounts examines the way UK consumers use the web to find, evaluate and buy current accounts. In particular we wanted to understand:
- What are consumers’ expectations and pre-conceptions about how and where they will shop for accounts?
- What sites and tools do they use to acquaint themselves with the market?
- What steps are there between the initial online shopping session and purchase?
- How do consumers formulate a shortlist of potential providers?
- What dissuades shoppers from buying online?
- What are shoppers’ attitudes to the offers and features associated with current accounts?
Download 'OSS Current Accounts' (pdf)
Authors: Natalie Machon, Tom Wood