Kevin Okell, Director of Altus Consulting believes that the current range of direct to client (D2C) platforms is barely fit for purpose. “The front end of the platform is daft” he says.
“They are assuming that they are designing the customer journey and in fact the customer designs the journey through their own research and using Apps. Old fashioned life companies need to leverage their thinking.”
According to Altus, many platforms are simply repackaging existing processes designed for professional advisers, rather than seriously rethinking the investment journey for a new digital world.
Okell suggests that providers have spent years regarding their own extranets as the centre of an adviser’s investment universe and that a proliferation of this thinking has led to a lack of creativity in the D2C sector.
He believes that platforms can learn important lessons from the insurance sector where comparison sites have emerged as a central component of new digital ecosystems.
“The volume of business flowing through sites such as GoCompare, Confused, and ComparetheMarket is growing exponentially, and they have become a primary route to market for many suppliers” Okell says.
“And as they expand so have the services they provide. Several have already moved beyond insurance to compare savings, ISAs and even annuities. Now they’re adding tools, calculators, magazines and forums to create fully featured finance ecosystems that will surely attract mass market consumers in the same way as Amazon.”
Okell concludes: “Providers would be well advised to look to the example of big brand aggregators in the home and motor sectors to understand where customer journeys are being crafted these days. They should then ensure they have the flexibility to adapt their offering to allow customers to interact with them at crucial points during the purchasing process.”