NAB partners with Apple, Samsung for concept branch

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NAB partners with Apple, Samsung for concept branch
NAB's 700 Bourke St concept store.

The future of retail banking.

National Australia Bank will on Monday take the covers of its latest concept branch - a “smart store” at Melbourne’s 700 Bourke Street developed with help from Apple and Samsung.

The store is heavy on self-service, and is part of the bank’s strategy to help reduce the footprint of all of its branches by 25 percent.

“That’s in response to transactions from branches declining by nine percent over the last twelve months,” said Peter Holmes, head of network planning and design at NAB.

“We continue to see that shift to online and mobile.”

NAB logins to mobile banking have grown almost 70 per cent in the past year with 17.8 million in August this year compared with 10.6 million in August 2012. This represents about half of its total internet banking logins.

The new concept store comes fitted with a mobile zone with three smartphones (iPhone, Samsung Galaxy and HTC One), an iPad and a Macbook Air on which customers can be guided through the registration process for internet and mobile banking.

NAB digital retailing manager Helena Athans likened it to an Apple “Genius Bar’ where customers can be educated and activate certain things.

“We have our NAB app on every one of these devices – these smartphones are the top three smartphones in Australia, so we think most customers will have one of those.”

The store along with around 150 others also offers free public wi-fi.

“We’re the third largest provider of wi-fi behind McDonalds and Hungry Jacks,” Athans said. “I’m not sure if we’ll catch up to McDonalds but we’ll try.”

NAB has also deployed Apple iPads into the hands of all of the staff manning the store, doing away with ticketing used in some bank branches, and instead presenting customers with an iPad on which they can seek assistance from a banker.

“In the past we’ve been guilty of making customers take a number and making them queue,” said Holmes.

“This is about how do you use technology to really connect with people. The help tablet allows customers to connect with a banker. It will push a notification to a banker and it will go through to all our bankers working on the shop floor.”

Customers can also use the tablet to view a photo of the banker they may have booked an appointment with.

“It’s a lot more personalised than ticketing machines,” said Athans. “No one is doing this, it’s quite revolutionary in terms of us having iPads.”

Athans said she and her team had worked closely with Apple and Samsung in developing the concept store.

“Both of them have provided resources and helped us make these apps the way that they are.”

The small amount of printed collateral in the store sits inside holders fitted with QR codes and NFC ‘tech tiles’ that connect with apps on individual products and services and allow customers to request contact from the call centre. Athans said the tech tiles were something NAB chose to trial after it saw them in Samsung’s innovation lab.

“This is the first iteration of this so obviously we’ll keep developing on it,” she added.

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