Just coming back from the M-Days in Frankfurt (the biggest European event on mobile apps and business). Here are some (random) ideas and thoughts I had while strolling around on the fair and talking to various represenatives from start-ups, telcos, banks, but also the bigger software vendors and content players who showed up in Frankfurt:
1. Mobile payment is (again) a big topic. A number of start ups is experimenting with mobile payment solutions based on QR codes, SMS or other verification mechanisms. Banks and telcos seem to sit on the sidelines and watching the games rather passively. Big players like PayPal are in the process of coming out with a mobile solution soon (it’s called “PayPal Here”). Starbucks has now introduced a mobile payments system in Germany where the customer can use his or her mobile phone to pay without cash or card in any Starbucks. A start-up that is developing a mobile payment standard in Germany is called iZettle. My personal opinion: not sure if big changes in payment are really happening. I guess payment via credit cards, bank transfer/ bank acont, or pre payment are still ruling the world. (However, our mobile app analyst Rosalia Engchuan is pointing out that some banks are already offering apps for mobile payments, sometimes by sending the payment to another mobile device so the receiver does not have to be customer of the same bank.)
2. Some start ups are trying to disintermediate banks via aggregator banking apps (you can look at and make transactions across multiple bank accounts and banks within one app) with value added tools (like showing expenses by category per month etc.). Check out FinanzBlick for instance. I think this could become a threat to banks if they are not able to offer attractive apps themesves, adding some aggregation features.
3. App store visibility: how well is your app positioned in e app stores? How easily can the app be found? Do you promote your app in the app store? Looking at our latest research for banking apps I think that is a big problem for banks as quite often their apps are hard to search and find. Also descriptions are poor. There are also services to manipulate app ratings and reviews - some providers are definitely making an effort to have a good rating/positioning. Definitely something most banks have to catch up on.
4. App tracking. I haven’t seen a lot of good tools to track app usage like downloads, conversions, transactions, views etc. etc.
5. I think there are lots of good ideas in consumer goods and retail apps that banks could learn from. Apps like Cardstar (aggregating customer cards, you don’t need to carry 10 different cards with you to get dsicounts, points and whatever, just show your mobile) could be a role model for aggregating bank and credit cards. Or using location based information to send specific marketing info via an app. Why not send an offer for a car loan to a client who is walking into a car dealer ship? (Again our mobile banking app analyst Rosalia points out that the interviews for our latest research report on mobile banking apps also showed that some users are just looking for core functions in banking apps and do not expect or want additional features and content.)