Client: Citibank

Found in more than 100 countries, Citibank is the consumer banking arm of the financial services giant Citigroup delivering a wide array of banking, lending and investment services to individual consumers, as well as to small businesses with up to $10 million in annual sales. Its branch network comprises local offices complemented by electronic delivery systems including ATMs, the internet and a mobile banking platform.

The Challenge

Citibank was keen to understand how consumer behaviour was influenced by different merchandise positioning within its flagship Hong Kong branch. Measuring the awareness of in-store merchandise and understanding the attitude towards in-store POS would enable it to evaluate the effectiveness of POS material, while allowing it to efficiently and effectively allocate resources and set priorities for different in-store merchandise offers. Citibank was mainly concerned with the following deliverables: Do customers recognise the in-branch merchandising items and do they interact with them? How do customers ‘shop’ in the branch – do they establish ‘tracks’ or set routes around the store?

The Solution

Citibank chose Ipsos Retail Performance’s Shopper Engage solution, which offers unbiased, natural observation of consumer behaviour. The Shopper Engage research involves tracking consumers remotely on discreet video around the store, following their movements and actions. The unobtrusive nature of the technique ensures that consumer experiences are uncompromised so that observed behaviour is totally ‘natural’.

The collected video experiences are analysed using proprietary Ipsos software against the project objectives. Typical consumer experiences with underlying patterns are reviewed in-depth by our experienced team of behavioural psychologists to understand the key customer facets that are driving the in-store offering.

The observational work is based on amassing numerous customer experiences from the point of entry through to the time they leave the store, capturing the route they follow, the items they touch, the visual cues they give. For the Citibank Hong Kong project 1,427 consumer ‘journeys’ were mapped over a 10-day filming period.

What Ipsos Retail Performance did

To answer the brief, Ipsos Retail Performance observed and measured customers’ flow within the branch and the routes they took, enabling Citibank to make better decisions on merchandising item locations. Ipsos reviewed Citibank Hong Kong’s branch floor plan layout, pointing out any potential ‘barriers’ that hindered customers from actually going to certain areas and interacting with the POS merchandising or having a better experience in the branch. Hot and cold spots were detailed allowing Citibank to evaluate what in-store marketing was working and what was not. From the observation, Ipsos Retail Performance then enriched the feedback with qualitative analysis offering suggestions and advice to overcome potential flaws.

From the powerful analytics, details were discovered about the role of POS in bank retailing, which differs greatly from that in conventional retailing. Instead of drawing attention to promotions or new product lines, in bank retailing, POS re-enforces brand values, builds and creates awareness of products and provides product information.

Findings from the Ipsos research unveiled to Citibank that the success of POS materials is achieved by aligning content and display type with the demands of the location. Some key observations were made in the study, including recognition that merchandising materials in a bank environment have little scope to drive instant sales, as there is an absence of impulse buying in branch.

The Outcome

With the insights gained from the Shopper Engage research, the Citibank marketing and advertising teams are now able to manage internal client expectations better and provide targeted POS that works best in branch.

Kit Chow, Vice President Head of Research – Marketing, Citibank Hong Kong, said: “Using Shopper Engage from Ipsos was a brave and innovative trial for us, but it has proved to be worth the time and money spent. Great insights have been gained enabling us to provide the warmest customer experience.”

Ipsos Retail Performance

UK office: +44 (0) 1908 682 700

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