Financial Firms Targeting the Rich Need Brick-and-Click Combo
E-Commerce Times (08/02/01) Vol. 83, No. 1 p.40; Saliba, Clare

A new study by Forrester Research indicates that companies seeking to attract affluent investors should integrate their offline and online offerings, among other steps. According to the study, consumers with investable assets of at least $1 million are feeling secure, confident about the economy, and optimistic when it comes to technology--so companies should promote a cohesive and multichannel brand experience. The study looked at more than 2,500 affluent U.S. and Canadian households, and found that 44 percent of the respondents visit their financial providers' Web sites, compared to 25 percent of those with fewer investable assets, and the main drivers of online activity are customer service and information accessibility. Companies can also offer relevant and customized advice on various financial topics, but the study shows that affluent investors expect this advice to be offered through several channels; 84 percent of those surveyed expect online and offline advice to supplement each other. Companies must understand their customers' experiences to promote consumer loyalty. According to Forrester, when financial institutions have multichannel integration of two or more services, their affluent customers are 25 percent more likely to recommend the firm and 24 percent less likely to leave.

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