One thing hard to approximate online is the hubbub of a busy branch, retail outlet, or event. Other than the occasional popup inviting you to chat about whatever financial product you’re viewing, most financial websites are lonely experiences. Sure, Web-based video can personalize the online experience, but that’s still a one-on-one experience. That’s why building an online community is so important in the long run (see note 1).
One way to demonstrate just how much activity takes place at your website or through electronic banking, is to show a stream of real-time activity. For example, Zillow’s new mortgage marketplace shows realtime mortgage quotes as they come in from the mortgage brokers using the site (see above).
Geezeo recently added a public news feed to its site, similar to what social media users experience at Facebook.
And ING Direct has counted up the interest in pays customer in a little meter within online banking, as of a few minutes ago it was $4.5 million shy of $9 billion.
But the most daring example is Progressive Insurance which displays actual specific rate comparisons to its competitors in the center of its homepage
(see screenshot below).
Financial institutions could show streams of activity in the following areas:
- credit/debit card transaction data: $63.42 at JC Penney’s Minneapolis, MN
- bill payment transaction data (only to major merchants): $124.22 to PGE, LA, CA
- funds transfers: A.C. transferred $1500 from checking to savings
- results from online calculators: $15,000 vehicle at 6.5% for 5 years = $432/mo
- mortgage quotes/locks: $572,000 purchase mortgage locked today at 6.375% with 1% fee
- insurance quotes: $1,000,000 10-year level term for 42-year-old nonsmoker for A.E. in Tampa for $1123/yr
- interest paid on deposits, checks processed, loans funded, website visits, online banking login, bills paid
- comments in blogs/forums
- search terms used on-site and possibly the top results
- questions asked/answered online
Of course, you’ll need to make certain there is absolutely no data streamed that could be traced back to an individual user.
1. See the following Online Banking Reports for more information: