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How FNB’s dotFNB stores are merging the digital banking and retail experience

Ronan Steyn: Staff Reporter
Ronan Steyn has a love for all things technology, with a particular focus on startups, gadgets and games. When not writing the good write, he can be... More

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First National Bank (FNB) recently added another string to its innovation bow with the launch of the dotFNB store — a unique type of cashless branch that facilitates a digital banking experience with a dash of retail.

Customers can not only apply for, and interact with, digital services such as Geo Payments, FNB Connect and the FNB Mobile App, but they can browse smartphones, tablets and other devices (and purchase them on plans), all within the store.

“We are living in a digital era and although traditional branches are here to stay, we need to offer relevant solutions to our clients. We believe that the link between education and banking on digital platforms needs to be readily available to clients, so that they can experience a marked impact on their lifestyles and the way they bank in the future,” stated Head of dotFNB and FNB Banking Channels, Kim Gibson-van der Walt.

It’s clear that the South African banking giant wants to cement its stronghold on the digital banking space, and dotFNB is just the tool to do that. The stores operate as a clever way to migrate not-so-tech-savvy clients onto their line of digital products and services, as well as to entice new customers through the retail experience.

 

Various in-store gadgets like the Microsoft Surface help determine a client’s profile, while video-conferencing booths put people in touch with specialists in Home Loans, Business Banking and Share Investing, all the while providing a high-tech experience.

Everything from the store’s layout and colour-scheme to its opening hours gives indication that FNB is tapping into the potential of what we’d like to call ‘Retail Banking’ — a space in which it can ‘sell’ its digital products and services, and offer basic troubleshooting.

 

All visitors can browse products and services and apply for them instantly and even non-FNB customers can open a cheque account on the spot if they wish to apply for device-purchases.

The dotFNB genius lies in the fact that visitors can’t just purchase devices, because they have to become an FNB client first. The retail experience (read as Apple Store experience) then is a great way to get existing clients to use digital platforms which may garner more advertising revenue for the bank, as well as get new customers to join the FNB family.

The proof is in the pudding. FNB has launched five stores to date and plans to keep growing the programme.