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Amazon ecosystem to include Barclays branches

Customer-centricity is at the very heart of Amazon’s strategy. The online retailer understands that its success is driven by creating a pain-free shopping experience for its customers. Central to this strategy is an ecosystem of partners that can source and deliver a wide range of products. Interestingly, this ecosystem now includes Barclays Bank branches.

An ecosystem of partners

With innovations such as 1-click shopping, targeted recommendations and the Dash button, Amazon continues to make the online shopping process as simple as possible. But that’s only half the customer journey. The products still need to be delivered and home delivery doesn’t work for everyone. So Amazon has been expanding its dedicated collection points in places that its customers already visit.

Customers can already collect their parcels in post offices, railway stations and Doddle branches. Now Amazon is trialling collection inside Barclays Bank branches in London. For Amazon, this pilot makes sense. Bank branches, like post offices and stations, are in areas of high footfall. As a result they could offer its customers a relevant alternative.

What’s less clear is how this will really help Barclays. Post Offices and railway stations don’t have dedicated customers, and hence already offer a wide range of services from different brands. So adding another brand/service adds to their value proposition without causing confusion. Barclays branches on the other hand, are dedicated to selling Barclays products to Barclays customers and prospects.

Customer-centric or cost-centric?

On the positive side, this partnership could provide Barclays with:

  • Extra revenue streams from a branch network under increasing cost pressure
  • New prospects walking into a bank branch
  • A value-added service for existing customers, which reminds them about using the branch
  • An innovative new business model for community bank branches

But on the other hand:

  • Does Barclays want customers who’ve already migrated themselves to lower cost channels, coming back into branches (without a reason to buy new products)?
  • Can this service deliver sufficient warm leads, and not just more bodies bustling around the branch, to drive significant customer acquisition?
  • Will the customer service requirements distract staff for their existing roles?

According to the Mail on Sunday, Barclays haven’t commented on the pilot. So it remains to be seen whether both partners are genuinely driven by a customer-centric purpose.

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