How good are banks in Ireland and the UK at attracting and converting customers online?

600x330 bank laptop

Author: Marie Sheehan

In 2014 we ran multiple studies* into the banking industry in Ireland and the UK, measuring the digital sales and digital marketing effectiveness of savings account, mortgages, current account and credit card providers.

Mortgage providers are the least effective online

Overall, mortgage providers are the least effective online of the financial services industries examined. This is mainly driven by consumers’ inability to complete a mortgage application online and the unclear information given about that process; for example, poor explanations of how the offline application process works, as well as inadequate details of products.

Conversely, current account providers score highest for digital effectiveness; findings show that this is because they are pretty good at conveying their value proposition online, explaining to consumers why they should choose their brand and for including product comparison capabilities online.

Interestingly no one bank performs well at everything

Examining how banks perform at an aggregate level, HSBC, Lloyds and Nationwide come out on top. However if you take into account that we consider 55% the minimum score a company needs to achieve in order to meet the basic needs of a customer, there is lots of room for digital improvement in the banking industry.

DSE Scores: How do brands do at aggregate level? Source: Global Reviews Digital Sales Effectiveness studies into banks in the UK & Ireland 2014

DSE Scores: How do brands do at aggregate level?
Source: Global Reviews Digital Sales Effectiveness studies into banks in the UK & Ireland 2014

 

Financial services brands need to help consumers to make decisions
Plotting the performance of each of the product providers against the stages of the online customer journey reveals that there is an industry pain at the “facilitating decisions” stage.

Credit card providers in particular are weak at explaining why consumers should chose them, where they can get help support and ultimately helping them to make the final purchasing decision.

Financial services brands are poor at helping users evaluate options as well as helping them make decisions Source: Global Reviews Digital Sales Effectiveness studies into banks in the UK & Ireland 2014

Financial services brands are poor at helping users evaluate options as well as helping them make decisions
Source: Global Reviews Digital Sales Effectiveness studies into banks in the UK & Ireland 2014

RBS
When looking online for mortgages consumers are struggling to find and compare options. In general they don’t understand what they are being shown and find it all very confusing.

However there are exceptions. RBS for example performs better than competitors here because they use needs based language and facilitate easy comparison of multiple mortgage options.

RBS performs better than competitors because they use needs based language and facilitate easy comparison of multiple mortgage options.

RBS performs better than competitors because they use needs based language and facilitate easy comparison of multiple mortgage options.

 

Bank of America
Looking at banks in the US, Bank of America allows consumers to filter by a variety of different types of mortgage requirements and then shows key options side by side with more filters. This really enables customer to drill down to the options that suit their needs.

Bank of America allows consumers to filter by a variety of different types of mortgage requirements.

Bank of America allows consumers to filter by a variety of different types of mortgage requirements.

Chase
For current accounts Chase performs well at reassuring consumers that all their checking accounts come with key features such as online banking. The site also has clever filtering options to help customers to find the current account right for them.

For current accounts Chase performs well at reassuring consumers. The site also has clever filtering options.

For current accounts Chase performs well at reassuring consumers. The site also has clever filtering options.

HSBC
We know from our research that enabling customers to save/print/forward their options for revisiting or checking later helps to facilitate decision making.
HSBC has a sharing and printing facility. This is a simple piece of technology that really helps consumers to make a considered decision.

HSBC has a sharing and printing facility

HSBC has a sharing and printing facility

 

AIB
We know that 20% of customers who experience a problem on website will leave immediately. 30% would look for FAQ or help. AIB scores high here by providing multiple contact options such as live chat and a call me back feature.

AIB scores provides multiple contact options such as live chat and a call me back feature

AIB scores provides multiple contact options such as live chat and a call me back feature

Nationwide
Nationwide conveys their value proposition really well by explaining to customer why they should choose them.

Nationwide conveys their value proposition really well by explaining to customer why they should choose them

Nationwide conveys their value proposition really well by explaining to customer why they should choose them

Nationwide continues its drip feed of value information by including external validation and award information.

Nationwide continues its drip feed of value information by including external validation and award information.

Nationwide continues its drip feed of value information by including external validation and award information.

 

Measuring how easy banks make it for consumers at every step of the online journey
The Global Reviews Digital Sales Effectiveness* (DSE) programme focuses on the Consider and Act stages of the online purchase journey. As part of this research we asked ‘in market’ consumers to go through the online pathway to purchase and complete a number of tasks. We then overlay these results with findings from our expert audit at every step. In total 500 data points show how effective a website is at each point of the journey.

Consider phase of the Global Reviews Digital Sales Effectiveness programme

Consider phase of the Global Reviews Digital Sales Effectiveness programme

 

Act phase of the Global Reviews Digital Sales Effectiveness programme

Act phase of the Global Reviews Digital Sales Effectiveness programme

As part of the DSE programme we score each bank at each of the six stages from how they perform at creating a great first impression and building trust, right through to submitting the application form.

If you would like to know more, please contact us.

Research Calendar 2015
Credit Cards: January and July
Savings: February and August
Mortgages: April and October
Current Accounts: April and October
Personal Loans: April

International Best Practice

To find out more about what best practice looks like and those who are achieving it view our webinar recorded on January 29th: Ireland & UK Digital Banking in 2014 – A Review of the Year.

Banking webinar

*In 2014 we ran the following programmes of study into the Banking Industry in Ireland and the UK:

Digital Sales Effectiveness (DSE): This study measures how effective Banks are at converting customers online. We ran the DSE programme twice in 2014 for Credit Cards (January & July), Mortgages (March & September) and Current Accounts (March & September); and once for Savings (August).

Digital Marketing Effectiveness (DME): This study measures how effective Banks are at attracting customers online. We ran the DME programme once in 2014 for Credit Cards (August) and twice for Current Accounts (January & July)

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Nationwide convert more current account customers online than any other UK bank

600x330Nationwide

Author: Marie Sheehan

Sales and acquisition funnels

The Global Reviews’ Digital Marketing Effectiveness (DME) study measures how effective banks are at attracting customers online. The DME programme maps the digital sales funnel beyond what a company’s usual analytics systems can see, in order to compare performance against competitors and provides insights as to where and why a product or brand is excluded in the consideration set.

We measure how the consumers’ journey progresses from initial brand preference and recall, which sites consumers visit, which brand they shortlist and which brands they give their final preference to.

Sales & Acquisitions funnels: Nationwide convert from shortlist most effectively Source: Global Reviews Digital Marketing Effectiveness study into Current Account providers in the UK 2014

Sales & Acquisitions funnels: Nationwide convert from shortlist most effectively
Source: Global Reviews Digital Marketing Effectiveness study into Current Account providers in the UK 2014

 

Leakages in the consumer decision process

Where are banks losing potential current account customers?

Is it at the beginning of the process – where banks are not attracting consumers to visit their site? Is it later in the process when the website comes into play and banks are not explaining the options well enough? Or is it that banks are making it onto the consumer’s shortlist to failing to be their final preference?

Nationwide is the best performer through the funnel

Nationwide is the most successful at driving current account consumers to visit their website – attracting 78% of those consumers who are aware of them. Compare this to 44% for Santander, 25% for Lloyds and 37% for Barclays.

Nationwide also have the highest conversion ratio from shortlisted to final preference. 41% of consumers put Nationwide on their shortlist and 20% ultimately choose them as their current account provider. This is not only because Nationwide’s website is easy to use, provides the information that consumers want and facilitates comparison of options, is it also about first impressions and the initial impression Nationwide’s website makes on potential customers.

From our Digital Sales Effectiveness* research we know that Nationwide’s website creates a really positive first impression with consumers, scoring highest in the industry for meeting customers’ needs and building trust. Nationwide does this by explaining why consumers should them, listing awards and including customer reviews and external validation.

Whose customers is Nationwide stealing?

Most consumers who chose Nationwide at the beginning chose Nationwide at the end of the pathway to purchase. They weren’t swayed by any other brands and are fairly brand loyal.

Initial Preferences of those finally choosing Nationwide Source: Global Reviews Digital Marketing Effectiveness study into Current Account providers in the UK 2014

Initial Preferences of those finally choosing Nationwide
Source: Global Reviews Digital Marketing Effectiveness study into Current Account providers in the UK 2014

11% of consumers who chose Nationwide originally chose HSBC. Similarly 8% originally chose Barclays and 8% originally chose Lloyds, but Nationwide managed to change their minds and convince consumers that they are better placed to meet their needs.

Nationwide are not only doubling the amount of consumers who prefer them, but they are also stealing customers from a wide range of other banks.

If you would like to know more, please contact us.

Research Calendar 2015

Credit Cards: January and July
Savings: February and August
Mortgages: April and October
Current Accounts: April and October
Personal Loans: April

 International Best Practice

To find out more about what best practice looks like and those who are achieving it view our webinar recorded on January 29th: Ireland & UK Digital Banking in 2014 – A Review of the Year.

 

Banking webinar

 

* The Global Reviews Digital Sales Effectiveness (DSE) programme focuses on the Consider and Act stages of the online purchase journey.

 

DSE circles

Through a proprietary, task based methodology; we invite ‘In market’ consumers to visit and experience the customer journey on your site.

We also measure the performance of your competitors’ sites in a similar fashion with a separate group of ‘In market’ consumers. This enables us to benchmark the performance of your brand within the marketplace and against the competitive landscape. We can tell you why some customers abandon the purchase journey on your website and complete purchase with a competitor.

We can provide you with a totally unique insight into how ‘In market’ consumers research and make decisions about your brand, your products and your competitors online and will help you to answer the following strategic digital sales questions:

1. Is your online sales journey more effective at converting prospective leads than your competitors?
2. Where do you need to focus resources to maximise online sales and customer experience?
3. Does your website meet best practice customer experience design for that product purchase journey?
4. How much effort is it to buy from you online?

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How do consumers in the UK search for travel insurance online?

600x330Insurance keyboard

Author: Marie Sheehan

In 2014 we ran Digital Sales Effectiveness (DSE) and Digital Marketing Effectiveness (DME) studies into the UK travel insurance industry. These studies measure how effective travel insurance providers are at attracting and converting customers online.

First step in the online customer journey: The Discover Phase
How did consumers search for travel insurance online in 2014?

Searching for travel insurance online

If you would like to know more, please contact us.

 

International Best Practice
To find out more about what best practice looks like and those who are achieving it view our webinar recorded on February 10th: UK Digital Travel Insurance in 2014 – A Review of the Year.

Travel insurance webinar

 

Research Calendar
The next Global Reviews UK Travel Insurance Providers Digital Sales Effectiveness Study will be fielded in May 2015. If you would like to know more, please contact us.

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How do UK consumers start to make decisions about choosing a current account online?

How UK consumers start to make decisions about choosing a current account online

Author: Marie Sheehan

Digital marketing effectiveness of current account providers
The Global Reviews’ Digital Marketing Effectiveness (DME) study measures how effective banks are at attracting customers online. We ran the DME programme twice for current accounts in 2014 (January & July).

What drives current account shortlisting?
As part of our DME programme ‘in market’ consumers research the current account that best suits their needs. When they complete their research we ask them who would make their “shortlist”. A shortlist usually comprises three or four brands that the consumer is considering and will look in more depth at what they have to offer.

Before starting the research we ask consumers why they would initially prefer a particular current account provider and the answer we got was that they had used the brand before. However after they’ve done a bit of research, consumers are able to make more considered decisions.

The reasons why consumers are shortlisting particular current account providers falls into three different categories:
1. Product attributes
2. Brand websites
3. Brand relationship

The reasons why consumers are shortlisting particular current account providers  Source: Global Reviews’ Digital Marketing Effectiveness studies into UK Current Account Providers 2014

The reasons why consumers are shortlisting particular current account providers
Source: Global Reviews’ Digital Marketing Effectiveness studies into UK Current Account Providers 2014

The biggest driver for shortlisting is online banking (53%). To get on to consumers’ shortlist, current account providers need to provide easy to use online banking. It’s noteworthy that mobile banking (28%) also ranks high as a product attribute that influences decision making.

Consumers prefer providers whose product/offers are easy to understand (42%). As it is a complex market, consumers also want the providers’ websites to help them compare options (39%).

For current account providers to make the short list, they need to quickly convince consumers on their website that they have easy to understand options and enable them to compare to find the option that best suits their needs.

Final preference: what happens in the online research and how that changes consumers’ minds?
13% of consumers preferred Santander initially, by the time consumers finished their research online this preference increased to 20%. Santander has not only taken that first preference, but they’ve built on it. It’s clear that Santander has been very effective at not only convincing those initial consumers, but they have also convinced others (7%) that they have the right product for them.

Nationwide started with just an 8% preference, but having been very effective at convincing consumers that they have the right product for them, this jumps to a 20% final preference score. Nationwide convert significantly more consumers online than Lloyds, Barclays and Halifax.

If you would like to know more, please contact us.

Research Calendar 2015
Credit Cards: January and July
Savings: February and August
Mortgages: April and October
Current Accounts: April and October
Personal Loans: April

International Best Practice

To find out more about what best practice looks like and those who are achieving it view our webinar recorded on January 29th: Ireland & UK Digital Banking in 2014 – A Review of the Year.

Banking webinar

 

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For Aviva it’s all about the brand, but Insure & Go are converting more travel insurance customers online

internationalbooking

Author: Marie Sheehan

In 2014 we ran Digital Marketing Effectiveness (DME) studies into the UK travel insurance industry. These studies measure how effective travel insurance providers are at attracting customers online.

Comparing Insure & Go and Aviva
After examining the sales and acquisition funnels for both Insure & Go and Aviva, it’s clear that these brands are performing very differently in the market. In fact twice as many consumers looking for travel insurance are aware of Aviva at the start of their research, but Insure & Go win three times as many customers in the end.

Fig 1: Insure & Go’s sales Acquisition Funnel Source: Global Reviews Digital Marketing Effectiveness study into the UK Travel Insurance Industry 2014

Fig 1: Insure & Go’s sales Acquisition Funnel
Source: Global Reviews Digital Marketing Effectiveness study into the UK Travel Insurance Industry 2014Recall: Unprompted brand awareness
Visited: Amount of people who visit a brand website
Shortlisted: Multiple select option of brand the consumer is considering
Preferred: The brand chosen by the consumer

What Insure & Go is achieving is even more remarkable when it is considered that in our research none of the potential customers even visited the Insure and Go website.

Why does Insure & Go perform better at online conversion?
When we drilled into the sample, we found that keywords the sub-segment of those consumers who shortlist Insure & Go for further consideration use when searching for travel insurance relate to price comparison or specific price comparison websites.

Fig 2: Search engine terms used by consumers who shortlist Insure & Go Source: Global Reviews Digital Marketing Effectiveness study into the UK Travel Insurance Industry 2014

Fig 2: Search engine terms used by consumers who shortlist Insure & Go
Source: Global Reviews Digital Marketing Effectiveness study into the UK Travel Insurance Industry 2014

When consumers search for “travel insurance” in Google, Insure & Go is the third result listed. Along with their effective SEM and SEO activities, Insure & Go are also winning customers through their strategy with aggregator sites. 69% of Insure & Go shortlisters used an aggregator website – where one in five made their final choice.

Aviva
The keywords used by the Aviva shortlisters are different and are mainly brand related search terms.

Fig 3: Search engine terms used by consumers who shortlist Aviva Source: Global Reviews Digital Marketing Effectiveness study into the UK Travel Insurance Industry 2014


Fig 3: Search engine terms used by consumers who shortlist Aviva
Source: Global Reviews Digital Marketing Effectiveness study into the UK Travel Insurance Industry 2014

 

What is surprising is when consumers search for “travel insurance” in Google; Aviva does not appear in the first page of results. – Is Aviva missing a trick by not investing in being in the top ten Google results?

14% of consumers claim to have seen recent advertisement from Aviva, whereas only 4% can recall any Insure & Go advertising. Furthermore a lot fewer consumers visit an aggregator site on their pathway to purchase (49% of Aviva shortlisters, 69% of Insure & Go shortlisters).

Aviva’s marketing strategy seems to be focused on increasing brand awareness and advertising. Is Insure & Go’s mix of effective search engine marketing and their aggregator strategy the reason they are converting three times as many potential customers?

It is also an interesting to note that the consumers who shortlist Insure & Go are different to the people who shortlist Aviva with different approaches to searching and researching online.

Consumers’ reasons for their choices
Interestingly, the reasons why those who shortlist Insure & Go do so is because they have good offers, because they have used them before or because they found them through a search engine.

Fig 4: Reasons for shortlisting Insure & Go Source: Global Reviews Digital Marketing Effectiveness study into the UK Travel Insurance Industry 2014

Fig 4: Reasons for shortlisting Insure & Go
Source: Global Reviews Digital Marketing Effectiveness study into the UK Travel Insurance Industry 2014

Contrary to this those who shortlist Aviva do so on the basis of familiarity, that they have good prices and build trust are the top three reasons given by those who shortlist them.

Fig 5: Reasons for shortlisting Aviva Source: Global Reviews Digital Marketing Effectiveness study into the UK Travel Insurance Industry 2014

Fig 5: Reasons for shortlisting Aviva
Source: Global Reviews Digital Marketing Effectiveness study into the UK Travel Insurance Industry 2014

How does this impact conversion to final preference?
43% of those consumers who shortlist Insure and Go choose them as their final preference in comparison to just 16% of those who choose Aviva . The difference in shortlist scores is not surprising considering the search pathway each group of shortlisters has taken to this point.
Consumers who ultimately choose Aviva do so because they have used them before (52%) or that they trust them (45%). Those that choose Insure and Go do so because they have used them before (51%) or that they had the best policies for their needs (51%).

In the travel insurance market, what is the value of brand trust and how does it differ from having used a company before?
Consumers are telling us that in the travel insurance market they will give their repeat custom to those companies that continue to put them first. For Aviva, loyalty is a claimed brand association which leads to lower levels of conversion. For Insure and Go, loyalty is bi-product of putting the consumer first and understanding their needs.

What is driving final preference?

What is driving final preference

 

If you would like to know more, please contact us.

International Best Practice
To find out more about what best practice looks like and those who are achieving it view our webinar recorded on February 10th: UK Digital Travel Insurance in 2014 – A Review of the Year.

Travel insurance webinar

 

Research Calendar
The next Global Reviews UK Travel Insurance Providers Digital Sales Effectiveness Study will be fielded in May 2015. If you would like to know more, please contact us.

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Search terms used by UK consumers when looking for a Current Account or a Credit Card online

Search terms used by UK consumers when looking for a current account a credit card online

Author: Marie Sheehan

Global Reviews’ research in to current account and credit card providers online

In 2014 we ran the following programmes of study:
Digital Sales Effectiveness (DSE): This study measures how effective Banks are at converting customers online. We ran the DSE programme twice in 2014 for Credit Cards (January & July) and Current Accounts (March & September).

Digital Marketing Effectiveness (DME): This study measures how effective Banks are at attracting customers online. We ran the DME programme once in 2014 for Credit Cards (August) and twice for Current Accounts (January & July)

Initial brand preference
As part of our research, we asked ‘in market’ consumers if they had a brand preference – a pre convinced idea of who they might choose for a particular financial services product. Across the industry 69% of consumers have an initial preference for a brand before researching. However when we examined the research findings at the individual financial services products, we found that those preferences are in fact widely spread.

13% of consumers before they did any searching and research into finding a current account said that they would probably choose Santander, 11% for Lloyds and 11% for Barclays. The choice is very widespread – consumers listed over twenty brands as their initial preference.

For credit cards there is a slightly different mix, with Tesco Bank (8%) coming in as the most initially preferred brand.

Although there is a lot of brand preference, the market is very fragmented and at this point there is no overall winner.

Fig 1: Unprompted initial brand preference for Current Account and Credit Card providers Source:  Global Reviews Digital Marketing Effectiveness studies in to Current Account and Credit Card providers 2014

Fig 1: Unprompted initial brand preference for Current Account and Credit Card providers
Source: Global Reviews Digital Marketing Effectiveness studies in to Current Account and Credit Card providers 2014

 

What do consumers search for?
We then asked the ‘in market’ consumers to do some research online and find a product that meets their needs.

Unsurprisingly 90% of consumers begin their journey on a search engine. What is interesting however is, what they actually search for – the key words and terminology.

For current accounts the leading search key word is “Santander”, which echoes Santander being the most initially preferred brand. This is followed by the search term “current accounts” and then three more brands.

Fig 2: Keywords and search terms used when searching for a Current Account provider Source:  Global Reviews Digital Marketing Effectiveness studies in to Current Account and Credit Card providers 2014

Fig 2: Keywords and search terms used when searching for a Current Account provider
Source: Global Reviews Digital Marketing Effectiveness studies in to Current Account and Credit Card providers 2014

 

For credit cards the most used search terminology was “credit cards”. Apart from “Barclaycard” brands did not feature when consumers were searching for a credit card online to best suit their needs.

This means that it’s a far more open market when it comes to credit cards. Consumers are much more open to the deals on offer and are less brand -led than consumers looking to open a current account.

Fig 3: Keywords and search terms used when searching for a Credit Card provider Source:  Global Reviews Digital Marketing Effectiveness studies in to Current Account and Credit Card providers 2014

Fig 3: Keywords and search terms used when searching for a Credit Card provider
Source: Global Reviews Digital Marketing Effectiveness studies in to Current Account and Credit Card providers 2014

 

If you would like to know more, please contact us.

Research Calendar 2015
Credit Cards: January and July
Savings: February and August
Mortgages: April and October
Current Accounts: April and October
Personal Loans: April

International Best Practice
To find out more about what best practice looks like and those who are achieving it view our webinar recorded on January 29th: Ireland & UK Digital Banking in 2014 – A Review of the Year.

Banking webinar

 

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How do consumers in the UK and Ireland go about researching financial products online?

660x330Online banking

Author: Marie Sheehan

Our programmes of Study into the Banking Industry
In 2014 we ran the multiple programmes* of research into the banking industry in the UK and Ireland examining how effective Credit Card, Mortgages, Current Accounts and Savings Accounts providers are at attracting and converting customers online.

First step in the online customer journey: The Discover Phase
How did consumers go about looking for financial services products in 2014?
This is what we learned from our research:

Stats for researching banks

If you would like to know more, please contact us.

 

Research Calendar 2015
Credit Cards: January and July
Savings: February and August
Mortgages: April and October
Current Accounts: April and October
Personal Loans: April

International Best Practice
To find out more about what best practice looks like and those who are achieving it view our webinar recorded on January 29th: Ireland & UK Digital Banking in 2014 – A Review of the Year.

 

Banking webinar

*Our programmes of Study into the Banking Industry in 2014:

Digital Sales Effectiveness (DSE): This study measures how effective banks are at converting customers online. We ran the DSE programme twice in 2014 for Credit Cards (January & July), Mortgages (March & September) and Current Accounts (March & September); and once for Savings (August).

Digital Marketing Effectiveness (DME): This study measures how effective banks are at attracting customers online. We ran the DME programme once in 2014 for Credit Cards (August) and twice for Current Accounts (January & July)

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Admiral’s chasing the online pack in home insurance

Global Reviews UK Home Insurance Providers Digital Sales Effectiveness Study 2014

Author: Marie Sheehan

Comparing Admiral with top performer Direct Line

In Q4 2014 Global Reviews conducted a Digital Sales Effectiveness (DSE)* study on the following twelve home insurance brands in the UK: Admiral, Aviva, AXA, Barclays, Churchill, Direct Line, Halifax, Lloyds Bank, LV=, More Th>n, Nationwide and Tesco Bank.
Measuring the home insurance customer’s journey
Our DSE programme focuses on the “Consider” and “Act” stages of the online purchase journey – from the point when a customer initially engages with the website through to when they submit their details and apply or purchase online.

DSE circles

Top and bottom performers across the customer’s pathway to purchase home insurance online

As you can see from Fig 1, different home insurance providers are meeting or even exceeding customer needs at each stage of the journey, however the industry average line shows that the industry as a whole is making it difficult for customers to buy from them online.

The industry as a whole is particularly weak at helping customers to evaluate the different home insurance policies and choose which option best suit their needs.

The poorer performers across the online customer journey are Tesco Bank and AXA, with Admiral coming out weakest in four of the six stages of the online customer journey.

Fig 1 DSE benchmark scores Source: Global Reviews UK Home Insurance Providers Digital Sales Effectiveness Study 2014

Fig 1 DSE benchmark scores
Source: Global Reviews UK Home Insurance Providers Digital Sales Effectiveness Study 2014

 

First impressions of Admiral and Direct Line online
The first part of the consider stage is “initial engagement”, where we measure the effectiveness of a website when consumers are looking for home insurance – the first impression the website makes and if it helps to build trust.

The categories within the initial engagement stage are:
1. Meeting expectations and builds trust
Where Admiral scores 42%, Direct Line scores 57% and the industry average is 63%

2. Assisting customer needs
Where Admiral scores 48%, Direct Line scores 52% and the industry average is 61%

As you can see from these figures there is a substantial difference of 21 percentage points between how well Direct Line’s website meets customers’ expectations and builds trust with them, and how poor Admiral’s site is in these areas.

What’s driving Admiral’s score down?
Drilling down into the sub sections (Fig 2) you can see that there is a lot of work for Admiral (and indeed the industry as a whole) to do. Admiral needs to improve their value proposition (scoring just 17%), their differentiation message and explaining why a customer should choose Admiral over other providers.

“Returning prospects” scores 0% for Admiral, which clearly means that is not something Admiral currently incorporates on their site. Admiral also has quite a bit of work to do in the area of building trust.

Fig 2 “Meeting expectations and building trust” sub section of the initial engagement stage Source: Global Reviews UK Home Insurance Providers Digital Sales Effectiveness Study 2014

Fig 2 “Meeting expectations and building trust” sub section of the initial engagement stage
Source: Global Reviews UK Home Insurance Providers Digital Sales Effectiveness Study 2014

 

What Admiral can learn from Direct Line
When we asked consumers to rate the home pages of the insurance providers, Direct Line’s homepage ranked much higher than Admiral’s because it displayed all the information they would expect to find when looking for home insurance. Plus consumers found that Direct Line’s homepage had a visual design that was appealing.

In contrast to this, consumers thought that the visual appeal of Admiral’s website was somewhat lacking as it looks a little “child-like with its cartoonish characters” and quite a number of consumers found that the website was only geared towards car insurance.

Direct Line’s website uses both a lexical and icon based menu which increases the possibility of the consumer understanding the message which is being communicated. The website has clear signposting with a funnel process, which means that consumers intuitively know where they will be taken when they click a particular button.

The multiple use of the “get a quote” call to action on the Direct Line homepage with clever placement of use of colour also increases success. As does the simple and clean design of the page which allow customers to understand very quickly what it going on and where to find what they need in order to move on.

If you would like to listen to my colleague Gerard Farrell, our Senior Client Advisor, walk you through both homepages, listen to our recorded webinar from the 22:35 minute mark.

Research Calendar
The next Global Reviews UK Home Insurance Providers Digital Sales Effectiveness Study will be fielded in February 2015. If you would like to know more, please contact us

International Best Practice
To find out more about what best practice looks like and those who are achieving it, view our webinar recorded on January 27th: Digital Sales Effectiveness of UK Home Insurance providers.

Home Insurance webinar recording

* The Global Reviews Digital Sales Effectiveness (DSE) programme focuses on the Consider and Act stages of the online purchase journey.

Through a proprietary, task based methodology; we invite ‘In market’ consumers to visit and experience the customer journey on your site.

We also measure the performance of your competitors’ sites in a similar fashion with a separate group of ‘In market’ consumers. This enables us to benchmark the performance of your brand within the marketplace and against the competitive landscape. We can tell you why some customers abandon the purchase journey on your website and complete purchase with a competitor.

We can provide you with a totally unique insight into how ‘In market’ consumers research and make decisions about your brand, your products and your competitors online and will help you to answer the following strategic digital sales questions:
1. Is your online sales journey more effective at converting prospective leads than your competitors?
2. Where do you need to focus resources to maximise online sales and customer experience?
3. Does your website meet best practice customer experience design for that product purchase journey?
4. How much effort is it to buy from you online?

 

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What drives different age groups to choose one home insurance provider over another online?

600x330 Home insurance 4

Author: Marie Sheehan
In Q4 2014 Global Reviews conducted a Digital Sales Effectiveness* study utilising our unique four dimensional methodology to audit how easily customers can buy home insurance online.

As part of our research, we asked ‘in market’ consumers (consumers looking to take out a home insurance policy within the next 90 days) to rate the important factors of a website when deciding on new home insurance policy with an insurance provider.

Easy to understand information more important than comparison
Insurance is an area where many consumers struggle with technical language and complex product options. So it’s not surprising that the most important element for customers when looking for home insurance online, is that information is easy to understand (73%).

The importance of accessible information and transparency continues with 66% stating that an easy to navigate website is the second most important element.

Furthermore, as “information should be detailed and complete” ranks third, it becomes more evident that detailed clear information, transparency and accessibility is key while elements such as the ability to compare options are of lesser importance.

It is important to note that the methodology behind this benchmark is designed so that factors such as price, T&Cs and brand preference do not influence scores. Essentially, we are asking the question: “If all things are equal, which home insurance company is providing consumers with the very best online experience?”

 

Generation Y want different things
As part of our analysis we segmented the sample into three different age groups:
18 – 35
36 – 55
56 +

Fig 1: Age differences driving preferences Source: Global Reviews UK Home Insurance Providers Digital Sales Effectiveness Study 2014

Fig 1: Age differences driving preferences
Source: Global Reviews UK Home Insurance Providers Digital Sales Effectiveness Study 2014

In general those in the 18 to 35 age group are more demanding and are more likely to want:
– tools that assist them in understanding which home insurance cover that is right for them
– the ability to view and manage their account online
– general information about home insurance
– customer ratings and reviews

Insurance providers need to work harder to acquire first time customers
This group “Generation Y” is the future and the acquisition territory for most insurance providers. They are more demanding and expect more which gives a good indication of where the industry needs to be playing in order to attract these younger customers.

It’s probably safe to assume that the majority of customers in the 18-35 age group are buying their first house and looking to take out home insurance for the first time. The insurers that are seen to be working harder for them are more likely to succeed in acquiring their entry level business.

Older customers still want easy to understand information
You might imagine that consumers over the age of 36 have bought home insurance many times and are more familiar with the language and insurance options. While that may indeed be the case, age and experience doesn’t necessarily translate into a lower propensity to want information that is easy to understand, in fact it is quite the opposite.

Older consumers want easy to understand information and the ability to save a quote when they are researching options. To optimise online conversion for this segment, insurance providers need to implement UX best practice to provide simple attractive design which is utterly utilitarian in nature.

Research calendar
The next Global Reviews UK Home Insurance Providers Digital Sales Effectiveness Study will be fielded in February 2015. If you would like to know more, please contact us

International best practice
To find out more about what best practice looks like and those who are achieving it, view our webinar recorded on January 27th: Digital Sales Effectiveness of UK Home Insurance providers.

Digital Sales Effectiveness of UK Home Insurance providers

 

* The Global Reviews Digital Sales Effectiveness (DSE) programme focuses on the Consider and Act stages of the online purchase journey.

DSE circles

Through a proprietary, task based methodology; we invite ‘In market’ consumers to visit and experience the customer journey on your site.

We also measure the performance of your competitors’ sites in a similar fashion with a separate group of ‘In market’ consumers. This enables us to benchmark the performance of your brand within the marketplace and against the competitive landscape. We can tell you why some customers abandon the purchase journey on your website and complete purchase with a competitor.

We can provide you with a totally unique insight into how ‘In market’ consumers research and make decisions about your brand, your products and your competitors online and will help you to answer the following strategic digital sales questions:

1. Is your online sales journey more effective at converting prospective leads than your competitors?
2. Where do you need to focus resources to maximise online sales and customer experience?
3. Does your website meet best practice customer experience design for that product purchase journey?
4. How much effort is it to buy from you online?

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Mobile phone providers and initial engagement online

cellphone-signal

Author: Marie Sheehan

Which mobile phone provider is best at meeting customer needs at the initial engagement stage online? – Comparing the top performer Optus (Australia) with Tesco Mobile (UK)

In Q4 2014 Global Reviews ran a multi country study into the Digital Sales Effectiveness (DSE)* of mobile phone providers. Our study included sixteen providers from across the UK, USA, Australia and New Zealand.

Looking at Five Key Providers within the Industry
Optus (Australia), Tesco Mobile (UK), Verizon (New Zealand), Vodafone UK and Three (UK)

These five mobile phone providers (Fig 1) include top performers, providers who perform stronger in a particular area and providers who are under performing.

Optus is the strongest performer in the early part of the customer’s pathway to purchase, scoring 74% and 69% in the ‘initial engagement’ and ‘introducing options’ stages respectively.

Tesco Mobile spikes at the ‘evaluating options’ stage (62%) which a noteworthy improvement on how they perform in the earlier stages.

Verizon comes up strongly at the ‘online purchase’ stage (67%), where Three scores just 26%

Which Mobile Phone Provider is best at Meeting Customer Needs at the Initial Engagement stage online

Fig 1: Optus (Australia), Tesco Mobile (UK), Verizon (New Zealand), Vodafone UK and Three (UK)

What is driving Tesco Mobile’s ‘Initial Engagement’ score down?
The initial engagement stage is the consumer’s first encounter of a provider’s website. We measure how effective that website is at helping consumers to locate what they are looking for, while considering their first impressions of the website, how fundamental site elements like navigation and privacy perform, as well as if the website build trust.

Optus performs best in the initial engagement stage with 74%, Lebara are the weakest with 28% while the industry averages at 62% The underlying parts of this stage are ‘meeting expectations and building trust’ and ‘assisting the needs of the customer’. Optus performs exceptionally well in the latter part achieving 83% which drives up their high score for the ‘initial engagement’ stage.

If customers can’t find what they are looking for in the first ten seconds of being on a website they are very likely to abandon and leave the site. We completed a behavioural audit as part of the study, and from this we know that Tesco Mobile’s website falls well behind the top performer particularly in the areas of first impression, its visual appeal, its layout, how easy to use it looks, and whether or not it displays all the impression a customer would expect to see.

Voice of Customer
“The visual design was almost too bland and basic. It gave the impression of not wanting to make too much effort for the person looking. It needs to retain the basic layout, but put a little more ’home’ into the design, to make it feel less sterile”

Tesco Mobile's homepage (December 2014)

Tesco Mobile’s homepage (December 2014)

Does this customer have a point? Is Tesco Mobile’s site bland?
When consumers visit a website for the first time, they don’t read a website, they scan it. The human eye is very good at picking up on colours and indeed shapes, so when you want a consumer to slow down and actually read a website, colours and shapes help to group relevant information together. While the Tesco Mobile site is simple, a lot of the colour is the same. The website design does not deliver any friction to prompt visitors to stop and read, so the visitor is more likely to abandon and leave the site.

The homepage is also missing a value proposition, a contact phone number, FAQs, a comparison table and information on why consumers should choose Tesco Mobile as their provider. These are some of the elements that would help Tesco Mobile to improve in this area, by building trust and showing customers that they actually want to engage with them.

 

Looking at Optus, the Top Performer
The value proposition is very strong and obvious on Optus’ homepage – both above and below the fold. The information, layout and visuals above the fold encourage scrolling. For example the headings on the fold ‘Popular Phones’, ‘Latest Phones’, ‘Hot Offers’ and ‘Prepaid Phones’ indicate that there’s more information further down the page worth looking at.

Optus' homepage (December 2014)

Optus’ homepage (December 2014)

Looking at the right hand side of the page, you can see how Optus has grouped information together on the basis of customer needs and presented in different coloured boxes. The dark grey box contains links to info such as billing and usage, and the darker blue box has links to their community and social sites. Along the top of the page are more generic information tabs – different types of signposts depending on the customer’s needs. Lexical and illustrated signposting also increases success and it gives the visitor more than one way to read the text.

Due to the methods Optus has used to signpost key information and a clear balance of funnel pages with call to action pages, when a visitor clicks on the image of a particular device the information which appears beside that device changes. The filter option is on the homepage which also brings the information forward, which means the customers does not need to leave (or abandon ) the homepage and keeps them close to the call to action.

Research Calendar
The next Global Reviews International Mobile Phone Providers Digital Sales Effectiveness Study will be fielded in May 2015. If you would like to know more, please contact us

International Best Practice
To find out more about what best practice looks like and those who are achieving it, view our recorded webinar: Digital Sales Effectiveness of International Mobile Phone providers.

Mobile ph webinar
* The Global Reviews Digital Sales Effectiveness (DSE) programme focuses on the Consider and Act stages of the online purchase journey.

DSE circlesThrough a proprietary, task based methodology; we invite ‘In market’ consumers to visit and experience the customer journey on your site.
We also measure the performance of your competitors’ sites in a similar fashion with a separate group of ‘In market’ consumers. This enables us to benchmark the performance of your brand within the marketplace and against the competitive landscape. We can tell you why some customers abandon the purchase journey on your website and complete purchase with a competitor.
We can provide you with a totally unique insight into how ‘In market’ consumers research and make decisions about your brand, your products and your competitors online and will help you to answer the following strategic digital sales questions:

1. Is your online sales journey more effective at converting prospective leads than your competitors?
2. Where do you need to focus resources to maximise online sales and customer experience?
3. Does your website meet best practice customer experience design for that product purchase journey?
4. How much effort is it to buy from you online?

Continue reading