Banking Beyond Stereotypes: Cross-Generational Design
British mutual financial institution Nationwide Building Society is rolling out a new open-plan interior design to make its banks less intimidating and appeal more to a broad demographic.
Nationwide believes the new design will appeal to all age groups, rather than just millennials – the obsession of many marketers in recent years. Research suggests 86% of marketers overestimate millennials’ spending power, while 72% underestimate how much is spent by people aged 55-plus (Age of Majority, 2017).
The new homely spaces, created by retail design agency Dalziel & Pow, feature domestic furniture, greenery and natural surfaces. They include inclusive design elements such as different heights of seating embedded into queuing barriers, cane hooks next to ATMs, and mobile phone charging points.
Physical barriers have been removed to allow staff to roam freely. Employees can serve consumers wherever they feel most comfortable, with the focus on emotionally intelligent decisions (see Tech Flex: Retail’s Omni-Era Workforce). Four distinctly different service areas cater to four tiers of pace and interaction intensity levels. The front zone gives quick access to self-service stations including ATMs, while the Conversation Zone allows quick interactions with staff around a large community table. Private consultations are held at the back of the store in secluded and acoustically improved pods resembling houses – a nod to the brand’s logo. A community lounge invites members to relax or partake in events.
To circumvent the awkward feeling of discussing finances in a silent space, a branded radio channel has been introduced.