It feels like a lifetime ago that banking only meant going to the branch. Digital disruption has redefined the channel landscape in retail banking. Consumers have more channel choices than ever as they select among branch, online and mobile banking options.

Changing the channels

If there is one thing to know about digital disruption it is this: it is never static. As technologies evolve and new ones emerge, digital continually raises the bar on itself, revolutionizing what is possible through continuous innovation, often at a rapid pace.

Most of us have had the experience of buying the latest digital gadget only to find that it is essentially outdated at the point of purchase. This is because the next big thing is on the horizon.

Tuning into consumers

This kind of advance of digital will impact the banking channel landscape. The results of Accenture’s 2015 North America Consumer Digital Banking Survey—our multi-year survey of about 4,000 consumers in the United States and Canada—bear this out in interesting ways.

Beyond their growing acceptance of primary digital channels, consumers are showing emerging interest in some digital channels that were not even on the radar for our 2013 survey:

  • 3 percent of consumers say they use wearables at least weekly for banking activities today. Banks have opportunities to explore the use of wearables in connection with biometric identifiers, which can improve security in wholly new ways.
  • 15 percent of consumers report using tablets weekly for banking. Banks have opportunities to integrate the use of tablets into the branch banking experience.
  • Video conferencing. 2 percent of consumers are using video conferencing weekly. With banks investing in video conferencing technology both within and outside the branch, it will be interesting to see how these percentages changes in next year’s survey.
  • Social media. 5 percent of consumers report using social media at least weekly for banking. However, most prefer this channel for information access, not for banking.

Multiple channels, one view

While uptake of these channels is still in the earliest stages, banks can benefit by monitoring how they mature in the coming years. In addition to tracking specific channels, banks should have the big picture in mind too. It is important to understand the specifics of each channel and how the channel mix aligns for a unified customer experience.

Channel integration will become increasingly important as the channel mix grows. Our research shows that banks continue to have an opportunity to improve channel integration. Data indicate that only 34 percent of consumers believe that the cross-channel experience is completely seamless. Moreover, about 20 percent say that the customer experience is not at all seamless.

As the channel mix shifts and consumer usage and preference patterns change, banks must ensure their channel strategy has flexibility to account for the continual impact of digital disruption.

Learn more about Accenture’s latest consumer digital banking survey.

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