While selfies make me cringe, I have to face reality: The selfie is not a fad, but a sign of things to come. And it’s an indicator of how millennials (those aged 18 to 24) want to bank and shop.
While financial institutions like Tangerine and CIBC now offer photo-chequing, Millennials will only be demanding more — and it will change what banks run over their networks.
Millennials and their mobile device cameras will change commerce from the written word to a picture-based experience, according to a survey from Mitek and Zogby Analytics, called “Millennials, Selfies and the Changing Role of Mobile Commerce.”
If financial institutions don’t see the bigger picture (pun intended) and start developing mobile capabilities for picture-based communications, then they could miss out on a growing market of millennials and, obviously, lose revenue.
This is even more relevant as we see non-traditional players enter the banking industry — like Apple, which is allowing users to load credit card info into Apple Pay via its iPhone camera.
More than half (54 per cent) of respondents say they would deposit cheques by snapping a picture and depositing it via a bank’s app, while 34 per cent say they have already used photo-chequing.
But it doesn’t stop there. U.S. Bank teamed up with the Minnesota Twins, for example, to run a pilot that involved using iPads to capture information via mobile imaging to open credit card accounts at the ballpark.
“We expect to see more experimentation,” said Sarah Clark, senior director and product owner at Mitek. “Nearly anywhere there would be manual data entry or paperwork to fill out, mobile imaging could conceivably be used instead.”
There are plenty of opportunities for banks to swap out a keyboard for a camera. More than half of millennials (54 per cent) would pay for goods using their mobile device as a mobile wallet instead of credit cards or cheques, if these services were available to them. And 45 per cent would pay a bill by taking a picture with their mobile device.
This is becoming a competitive differentiator: About a third (36 per cent) say they’ve made a decision on where to spend money or switched companies based on what they could accomplish with a mobile device.
“This is huge for banks trying to capture millennials as customers,” said Clark. “Banks that don’t offer the mobile imaging that millennials love risk being left behind as they seek out services that fit their lifestyle.”
Cheque images are small data bursts, and the data load on the network tends to be distributed over time. “You will not see any large files or what I call ‘the network cholesterol’ that would clog up your network,” said Clark. “In other words, the app will not be transferring large file sets all at once and from one location.”
But as we see banking take on more image-based capabilities, this could start to strain the network. Knowing the average data size and number of images expected to go through your mobile channel will give you a sense of the additional load — and whether your current network is able to handle it.
Building an image-based mobile commerce experience is key to capturing millennials, but you need to be able to support it. If the experience isn’t quick and seamless, millennials who are used to tweets and Vines are going to get fed up pretty quickly — and maybe move on to your competitor.
Image credit: Mitek