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Cambridge Building Society Competitive Position Report


How Cambridge Building Society competitors use their retail space to communicate with customers

Cambridge Building Society competitors have utilized their retail space to communicate with their customers in a number of ways. The firms have integrated both traditional and emerging retail communication techniques. For example, as part of its corporate responsibility to communicate to the public, Lloyds TSB management team has ensured that its vision, mission and values are well known by the customer. The firm has achieved this by ensuring that it provides its customers with sufficient literature regarding its operations, products and services (Lloyds Banking Group, 2008, p.3).

CBS competitors are increasingly adopting emerging Information Communication Technologies within their retail branches. One of the ways through which they have attained this is by integrating Electronic Display Systems. Some of the financial institutions that have integrated these technologies include Nationwide Building Society and Royal Bank of Scotland. These firms have installed Electronic Display Systems such as LCD and LED Displays (Electronic Display Systems, 2011, para. 1).

In-store layouts, activities and communications tools used and their effect

Ensuring effective store layout plays a critical role in attracting customers. In its operation, CBS and its competitors have effectively designed their in-store layout. For example, Lloyds has established a number of points are established whereby the customers can access information regarding the firm’s operation (Lloyds Banking Group, 2008, p.11). In an effort to develop a strong relationship with its customers, HSBC has incorporated effective interior designing within its retail branches as illustrated by the image below.

HSBC has incorporated effective interior designing.
HSBC has incorporated effective interior designing.

In its operation, Barclays Bank has effectively designed its interiors in an effort to create a friendly banking experience. In 2009, Barclays bank received the FX Interior Design Award for its effectiveness in designing and using its retail space to communicate to the customer (Barclays, 2009, para. 9).

Barclays bank interiors.
Barclays bank interiors.

Communication tools

In an effort to ensure effective communication with their customers and to create unique customer experience, CBS competitors have integrated current retail communication technologies. These firms have attained this by incorporating the concept of digital signage and digital posters. Digital signage is a technology that enables an organization to display its product information through various methods such as scrolling text, pictures, graphics and audio simultaneously at different locations through digital technologies (Science Tech Entrepreneur, 2010, p.2).

The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and Nationwide Building Society financial institutions has installed the current digital technology within their retail spaces. To ensure that its customers access information regarding the prevailing exchange rates, Nationwide Building Society has installed Electro Exchange Rate Displays (Electronic Display Systems, 2011, para. 1). Additionally, Nationwide Building Society has installed a large display screen through which it interacts with its customers by showing them its products as they wait to be served (Sign of Times, 2011, para. 4). Santander Bank has also integrated the use of LCD screens (Santander, 2011, p. 4).

Image of Nationwide Building Society display screen.
Figure 4: Image of Nationwide Building Society display screen.

In its operation, HSBC has integrated digital posters through which its customers access diverse information. The posters are vertically placed in the retail space as illustrated in figure 5. According to Imperativegroup.com (2010,) digital signage plays a vital role in attracting and retaining customers. HSBC has effectively configured its digital posters to ensure confidentiality of the customers’ confidential information such as their banking details. The figure below illustrates an image of digital poster within HSBC.

HSBC digital poster.
Figure 5: HSBC digital poster.

Nationwide Building Society and Royal Bank Scotland have incorporated the concept of visual merchandising in their retail branch. The Royal Bank of Scotland has installed an interactive kiosk through which its customers can be able to access information about its loan products. Additionally, the interactive kiosk gives customers an opportunity to determine their monthly repayments before getting first hand information from the branch financial advisor (Electronic Display Systems, 2011, para. 1).

Interactive kiosk.
Interactive kiosk.

Effect

As a result of integrating the above retail communication tools and interior designs Barclays Bank has attained significantly improved its public image (Barclays, 2009, para. 1). By using emerging social communication networks such as face book and twitter, CBS competitors such as Santander, HSBC and Royal Bank of Scotland have attained efficiency in communicating with their customers hence developing their relationship (Beugge, 2011, para. 18). In 2008, Halifax was awarded the Moneyfacts Award for being the best financial institution with regard to provision of online mortgage (Lloyds Banking Group, 2011, p.11)

Use of face to face communication

In order to meet the diverse customer communication needs, CBS competitors have instituted the concept of face to face communication. One of the ways through which these firms have attained this is by opening offices in different regions. For example, Norwich and Peterborough Building Society have established offices in different part of East Anglia. Therefore, if a customer has an issue, he or she is able to talk face to face with the firm’s insurance broker (N&P, 2011, para. 1).

Additionally, some of CBS competitors such as Lloyds and Nationwide Building Society have incorporated effective support teams in their retail branches (Lloyds Banking Group, 2008, p. 7). Their role is to provide the customers with sufficient financial support. This has enabled these financial institutions to establish an effective contact with their customers. Through the customer care sections, customers are able to inquire on various issues directly from the bank. For example, they can enquire about the products offered by the financial institutions. Face to face communication through the customer care sections enable Santander, HSBC, Nationwide Building Society, Halifax and ING employees to interact directly with the customers. This culminates into development of a high level of confidence amongst the customers because they can be able to obtain first hand information on various issues which they need clarification on (Phoebus, 2011, p. 35).

Opportunities available for CBS to develop a unique way of using its retail space rather than copying its competitor models

The following are some of the opportunities that CBS can exploit in order to develop a unique way of utilizing its retail space. To enhance its competitive advantage, CBS management team should consider implementing a unique model that will enhance its competitive advantage. To attain this, the firm can improve its retail branches designs and communication tools. To improve its relationship with its customers, CBS should consider integrating events in its branches.

For example, the firm can attain this by incorporating a kid’s zone in its retail space. The kid’s zone presents an opportunity for the firm to increase the size of its customer base. This arises from the fact that the firm will use this opportunity to develop a new banking product that targets the kids. By creating awareness to the customers, there is a high probability of the parents purchasing the new kids product (Zdral, Siciak & Styrnik, 2011, p. 9).

Additionally, the firm should consider integrating emerging retail communication tools. CBS can attain this by incorporating the concept of visual merchandising. To effectively implement this strategy, the firm should integrate digital posters which should be strategically placed to improve visibility (Zdral, Siciak & Styrnik, 2011, p. 9). CBS should also consider incorporating bank agents to help its clients with the various banking processes.

For example, the agents should be charged with the responsibility of assisting customers who might not conversant with the bank’s operation (Phoebus, 2011, p. 38). To influence the consumers in their decision making process, CBS management team should also ensure that its retail branches are well designed to keep the customers within the retail space for a long period. For example, the firm may consider incorporating the concept of interior designing. To be efficient in designing its retail branch interiors, the firm should consider contracting interior designing companies such as Interior Design Partners (Interior Design Partners, 2011, para. 1).

Reference List

Barclays. 2009. List of awards for 2009. Web.

Beugge, C., 2011. . Web.

Imperativegroup. 2010. . Web.

Interior Design Partners. 2011. Interior designs. Web.

Lloyds Banking Group. 2008. . Web

Phoebus. 2011. BSA yearbook 2011-12. Web.

N & P. 2011. NPIB branch addresses. Web.

Santander. 2011. Specifying and purchasing IT. Web.

Science Tech Entrepreneur. 2010. Retail communication. Web.

Sign of Times. 2011. Large format printing. Web.

Zdral, M., Siciak, P., & Styrnik, B. 2011. Central Europe retail banking. Web.

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