Five Best Practices for Online Cross-Selling

Make it easy for users to find what they're looking for.

June 21, 2012
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Geoff Knapp has a message for credit unions that want to model their online banking systems after high-profile, online retailers: “You’re not”

Knapp, Fiserv’s vice president of digital channels, told America’s Credit Union Conference attendees that credit unions can borrow some ideas and practices from online retailers, but they should keep in mind their very different business models.

“Amazon’s business model is based around throwing ads at the consumer, while the credit union model is based on service,” he said. “People hold financial institutions to a higher standard than retailers. I expect Amazon to sling stuff at me, but not my credit union.”

Knapp offered five best practices for online cross-selling:

1. Make it easy for users to find what they want. Ease of use is the primary driver of satisfaction with online banking. Make it easy for members to locate and accomplish specific tasks by prominently positioning frequently used service.

“Members don’t want to click eight times to find what they want,” Knapp said.

Plus, online banking users are task-oriented and become annoyed if the flow of a task is interrupted, so credit unions should strive to make related offers as part of the task flow or when a task is complete.

2. Offer a personalized online experience. Personalization doesn’t have to be complex; it can be as simple as providing a personalized greeting when members log on, or allowing members to edit their profiles and account information.

“Just use my name and recognize that I’m there,” Knapp said. “This is an area in which the online banking experience lags the online buying experience.”

Subscribe to Credit Union Magazine3. Target the message to the right member the right way. Present products and services to users based on their needs, rather than blanketing all members with an offer or relying solely on sales goals to define offers.

“Make the offers conversational, contextual, and relevant to add value,” Knapp said.

4. Position recommendations in a helpful, friendly manner. Online retailers are adept at positioning products for cross-sell without appearing to actually advertise the products—mainly by presenting recommendations in a friendly, helpful way.

Credit unions should consider adding social elements to their sites to promote their products and services with a conversational approach.

5. Focus on what you know. “Don’t get carried away with opportunities to sell other companies’ stuff,” Knapp suggested. “Members are open to offers from their credit union—not so much for discounts to local restaurants.”

Focus on helping members save money and providing valuable financial tools.

“Focus first on who you are and what you do,” Knapp said. “Members aren’t opposed to cross-selling within online banking, and a large percentage are receptive to offers they perceive to be targeted and relevant. The key is to enable users to conduct their banking business quickly and efficiently while leveraging marketing to deliver a more personal and valuable experience.”

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