Westpac did it last year at 79 Queen St, and BNZ has followed suit with its own ‘concept store’ across the road at 80 Queen St.
Even though more and more customers are doing their banking online, bricks and mortar establishments are still important marketing and customer service tools. And BNZ director retail, Andy Symons says the redevelopment reflects a growing recognition that bank stores remain an important place for face-to-face contact between the bank and its customers—but with a twist.
“Where it was once thought that remote banking channels such as mobile apps, online banking and ATMs would replace the need for stores, we know that talking to BNZ staff in a store environment has continued to be important for our customers. We wanted to take down the barriers and create an approachable and interactive environment where customers can really enjoy their visit.”
A highlight of the new branch is an interactive wrap-around shop front that projects a changing vision of Auckland and New Zealand to all who pass by. And those passing by in May will be treated to the work of projection specialist Jon Baxter, whose company, Perceptual Engineering, created the amazing images at Eden Park for the Rugby World Cup 2011 opening ceremony.
Inside the store customers can hook up to free WiFi and enjoy the use of iPads and the latest Samsung touch-table technology. There’s also space to talk with staff away from the hustle and bustle.
BNZ in-house designers partnered with local architects Warren and Mahoney and interior architects The Ivory Studio to design and create the new concept, a slightly different approach to that used for its the launch ad for its ‘Be Good With Money’ campaign, which was criticised for being filmed in the US by a US production company.
Heart of the City chief executive Alex Swney says Queen Street is one of Auckland’s key foot traffic and tourist routes and he wants everyone from cruise ship passengers to locals to have a memorable experience when they visit.
“BNZ worked closely with us to develop an inclusive, innovative approach to shop frontage, which will deliver an ever-changing, world-class experience for tourists and locals alike.”
Speaking of experiences, its YouMoney banking platform, which is targeted at the youth market, earned BNZ Canstar’s Innovation Excellence Award for the second year running. And Symons attributes that success to a significant shift in attitude within BNZ from product delivery to experience-led.
“We’re now looking at the experience we want our customers to have and designing everything we do around making sure customers can enjoy that experience in a way that works for them.”