Credit Unions Should Learn from the Rebirth of Retail

credit union retail comparisons

Last week I made a breakthrough in my relationship with my wife. We have been married 16 years and she finally felt secure enough to tell me something I have known for years. Kirk, she said, you are not a very good dresser. Frankly, most of the time you look like Ted Kennedy and Rodney Dangerfield had some sort of weird baby. Well, she didn’t say that second part, but now you don’t think she is as mean… it’s all perspective.

Anyway, when she told me my wardrobe needed an upgrade I cringed. I think I hate shopping for clothes more than I hate changing banks. So, I started on Amazon. I looked at shirts to start. It was insanely frustrating. The pictures stink, the reviews are worthless, the pricing is terrible, and mostly I feel like I am shopping at a Walmart (which is fine if you are into that sort of thing, but I don’t think I am going to fix my clothing problem there). I began Googling “custom shirts” and “mens business casual style 2020.” None of these worked very well.

Finally, I stumbled on a site that intrigued me. Proper Cloth. What a great name. It exudes luxury while piquing my banker tendencies. Trendy but conservative. Like napkins and table clothes at a nice restaurant. Anyway, I began looking at shirts. It was OVERWHELMING. They wanted to know all sorts of true PII (personally identifiable information) and not of the financial kind. Neck sizes, bicep sizes, chest sizes. I wasn’t even sure how to measure some of them. Especially with a construction tape measure.

I put one in my cart. Got frustrated and moved onto something else. Damn it. I needed to solve the problem right then. I went back and started working on fabrics. Then it wanted to know which pocket, collar, and cuff type I wanted. My god. I didn’t know there were so many choices. Again, abandon ship.

15 minutes later I went back. I noticed a big banner at the top: SCHEDULE CONSULTATION. I quickly picked a time and scheduled a consultant. The site added it to my calendar. The next day I met with my consultant over zoom. Wow. She knew everything. I explained my problem, my fears, etc. She listened, smiled (without a mask), and promised to configure a few things for me. She offered a one-time off coupon and sizing guarantee. 15 minutes later we hung up. My butt never left my chair. I didn’t fight traffic. I didn’t look for parking. I didn’t wait in line. It was great.

An email showed up a few minutes later with everything. It included links to buy each item we discussed. I emailed back a question or two. Then I hit purchase. I bought one shirt for $95 to make sure I got the sizing right. I would have bought 10. I have 2 conclusions from this experience:

  1. I am truly never going to a mall or a store again.
  2. Why can’t I do this at my credit unions? Need a new credit card? Schedule a zoom appointment. Need a new car? Boom. Guys—this is the time to change it all!

I asked my consultant if they did this before COVID. Nope it was a pivot. They changed all of it over the past three months when their Manhattan store got shut down. All the staff had to transition. It is working great. They plan to keep it afterwards.

Retail has been dying. This is the new retail.

Credit unions: make the transition. It will be awesome for your members and your employees!


Additional Reading

A simplified and convenient member experience is the cornerstone of what we preach here at CU 2.0. Our tech trends blog shows as much (as do most of our blogs).

But if you’d like to take part in a broader industry discussion about how technology shapes the modern credit union experience, then consider the Credit Union 2.0 Mastermind. In it, credit union and fintech leaders come together to discuss shared goals, common challenges, and other major issues facing the financial industry.

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