Gen Y consumers—those born between 1980 and 2000—are a lucrative, yet hard to penetrate, market for financial institutions.
According to Javelin Strategy and Research, gen Y’s aggregate personal income was $2.4 trillion or about 20% of the U.S. total in 2010. By 2025, this group will count for about half (46%) of the nation’s personal income.
Of special interest are the members of this demographic who are digital natives—those who have a special affinity for technology because they were born during its widespread adoption and had regular opportunities to interact with it.
The new online lenders have some immediate “ins” with this segment: They offer the latest technology, they have a reputation for making borrowing simple and fast, and they provide their services across many platforms, including mobile.
To attract gen Y and digital natives, it’s critical to invest time and resources on the appropriate technology platforms and online applications—or join forces with a provider that can deliver this.
One technology upgrade that attracts digital natives focuses on the effective delivery of information electronically—the responsive website.
This is a web design that provides the consumer with an optimal viewing experience regardless of what channel is used—smart phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop.
A responsive website adapts the layout to the viewing environment so the consumer gets a similar experience with each device used. The site automatically resizes images and content to fit the device.
In the past, a financial institution typically had two separate websites for mobile and desktop, with the mobile site representing a stripped-down, often clumsy, version of the desktop.
An additional pain point: when rates changed, each website had to be updated separately.
Pacific Service Credit Union in Concord, Calif., is undergoing a technology rewrite to develop a responsive website, says Steve Punch, CEO of the $1.1 billion asset institution.
Punch says the move is critical as mobile devices are transformational and consumers expect their financial institution to have seamless mobile capabilities.
“Responsive websites are table stakes for 2015,” says Punch. “Financial institutions have to look at making websites responsive so that tablets, smart phones, and PCs all provide a consistent visual experience. The website has to be relevant and scaled to the device used.
“For many consumers,” he continues, “their credit union’s brand will be conveyed through a mobile device, and they don’t want to see the seams and edges of the product.”
Pacific Service learned several lessons when going through the responsive website design phase, says Kristin Dove, the credit union’s vice president of marketing. “Extensive use of graphs and charts does not translate well to a responsive website. Concise copy is critical.
“The best strategy is to simplify the offering so the mobile experience is clean and simple,” she adds. “Your website shouldn’t be the repository for everything that happens in your credit union. The website should be for high-level information.”
Aside from the positive viewing experience for the consumer, responsive websites offer multiple advantages for the credit union as well.
“Now I can use one content management system to initiate a rate change for all devices,” says Dove. “We also can produce consistent messaging over multiple platforms while retaining the ability to respond to mobile usage specifically.”
Digital natives and gen Y consumers want all possible channels—mobile, online, and branch—to conduct their financial business. A responsive website ensures that your credit union offers a quality experience in all venues.
BRAD KIME is chief revenue officer for LendKey Technologies, a CUNA Strategic Services alliance provider. Click here for a free copy of the report, “Tech Trends 2015.”