A mobile-first attitude is essential for small business finance

76 per cent of Australian millennials consider the existing global economic system “outdated”: how can social media help? asks Wester Union Country Head, Australia, Simon Millard.

Adopting a mobile-first mentality

Australia boasts one of the highest levels of smartphone usage in the world, with 88 per cent of us owning one; ushering in what some consider to be one of the most fundamental changes impacting consumer behaviour today.

In light of this, Australians have high expectations for a fast and efficient delivery of experiences on their mobile phones, and businesses who don’t adapt to meet the needs of this increasingly digital and mobile-savvy customer base risk becoming irrelevant.

According to Western Union research, 76 per cent  of Australian millennials consider the global economic system outdated,[1] highlighting the need for businesses in financial and banking services to constantly innovate to stay ahead of consumer needs.

Money management providers must ensure mobile money transfer happens where younger consumers want it to, through a smartphone app. It’s essential that digital money transfer tools and services fit seamlessly into the lives of everyday people, including millennials.

In an age when speed, convenience, and trust mean everything, and young people are travelling more and more, money transfer businesses need to facilitate a digital, borderless world, where the flow of money is fluid and seamless.

Social commerce in Australia

A 2018 study into the global digital landscape reported nearly 3.2 billion active social media users worldwide. Notably, Australians are high up the list, with social media usage via mobile growing year-on-year, increasing by 7 per cent in 2018. Of the 3.2 billion global social media users, a massive nine in 10 people access their preferred platform via mobile phone.[2]

In Australia alone, there are currently 17 million Facebook users, with consumers aged between 18 and 34 accounting for 26 per cent of this group.[3]

Indeed, some of the key trends driving the money transfer and payments industries are social networking, the shift to mobile, and the growing popularity of e-wallets and online commerce. Individuals, particularly younger consumers, are participating in globalisation directly, using digital platforms to learn, find work, showcase their talent, and build personal networks.

Our research revealed that 82 per cent of Australian millennials feel social media plays a significant role in uniting the world through sharing information, fostering debate, and contributing to greater community togetherness.[4]

Considering this, it makes good business sense for money transfer operators to integrate their services with the social channels that younger consumers are using.

That’s why we’ve integrated our money transfer and payments services with popular social media apps Facebook Chat, WeChat Pay, and Viber, allowing customers in certain geographic locations to transfer money directly through platforms they are already using.

So, how does this simplified money transfer service system work? In the case of Facebook Messenger, we used a chatbot to leverage artificial intelligence and transform the experience for our customers, creating one of the largest digital and physical networks to transfer money.

New partnerships are what drive innovations like these, with 82 per cent of organisations expecting to increase fintech partnerships[5] in the next three to five years, allowing businesses to leverage new technologies to enhance their offerings.

It’s important businesses in financial services continue to forge strategic partnerships with like-minded businesses, to offer customers greater choice, ease of use, and accessibility. As consumer preferences continue to evolve, providers that offer greater choice will come out on top.

Future gazing on the industry

As the world becomes more borderless, the social networks that facilitate this interconnected system will only grow in popularity and capability.

Furthermore, physical bank branches continue to decline around the world, so it’s important businesses in financial and banking services keep up to speed with customers’ preferences in the digital space.

The global money transfer landscape is evolving and shows no signs of slowing down. While digital disruptors significantly challenge the status quo, they also present new opportunities for businesses to take advantage of new technologies and collaborate with fintech players in order to better meet the changing needs of their customers.

Sources
[1]Western Union’s 2017 global millennial survey
[2]We are social’s 2018 Global Digital Report: https://digitalreport.wearesocial.com
[3]We are social’s 2018 Global Digital Report: https://digitalreport.wearesocial.com
[4]Western Union’s 2017 global millennial survey
[5]PWC Global Fintech Report 2017: https://www.pwc.com/jg/en/publications/pwc-global-fintech-report-17.3.17-final.pdf

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Simon Millard
Simon Millard is the Country Director, Australia at Western Union, a company that has been helping people move money around the world for over 160 years. In 2016 Western Union completed 268 million consumer to consumer transactions globally - that's one every 31 seconds and moved over $80 billion in pricipal between consumers.

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