October 20, 2015

New style of store offers customers more choices

Wells Fargo is digitizing stores to give customers an omni-channel experience — the ability to move seamlessly within and between channels — when they visit.

Wells Fargo is introducing new, digitized banking stores to give customers an “omni-channel experience” — the ability to move seamlessly within and between channels when they visit.

This new “neighborhood bank” format demonstrates how technology enables the company to better serve customers, and connect them to all Wells Fargo has to offer, from mobile to stores to call centers and ATMs.

The newest neighborhood bank, the 14th of its kind, opened Sept. 28 at Transbay Gateway, 333 Market St., in the heart of San Francisco’s financial district. It’s a full-service location, but fits into about 2,000 square feet, much smaller than a traditional store.

“We do that through some innovative workflow,” says Jonathan Velline, head of ATM Banking and Store Strategy. “We designed the experience around these assisted-service ATMs that are built into the counter and provide full service for our customers. They dispense $1s, $5s, and $100s in addition to the traditional $20s.  Customers can also make deposits, transfers, payments — everything they can do with a traditional teller. If a customer needs assistance, a team member helps the customer at that machine using a wireless tablet.”

This assisted-service option allows Wells Fargo to deliver the best digital experience without compromising on personal service, Jonathan says.

The new workflow is also paperless, which eliminates the need for storage space. Meeting areas for customers and team members are cozier, and located a few steps from where transactions take place.

Traditional stores use about 40 percent of space for back offices versus about 10 percent for neighborhood bank locations. The size of a traditional store is about 4,000 square feet, vs. 1,000 to 2,000 square feet for neighborhood bank locations.

The store model, which complements our Traditional and In Store formats, has been opened in several locations, including New York City and Washington, D.C.

A majority of Wells Fargo customers interact with three or more channels during a six-month period, says Brett Pitts, head of Digital for Virtual Channels.

The new digital strategy isn’t supplanting stores, but rather complementing them.

“Innovation is a key part of what we do,” Brett says. “There are all kinds of technologies that we can experiment with, but it’s really important that we stay focused on our customers, on what’s of value to them, on what enables them to be financially successful, and on how we best serve them. It’s a key component of what we do, both from a technology perspective and a business perspective.”

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