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Business of banking gets a redesign

We look at the National Australia Bank’s latest rollout of retail stores, designed by New Zealand architectural firm Warren and Mahoney.

The National Bank of Australia recently rolled out its new retail stores across Australia, with self-service design at its helm. 

The bank had experienced a 10% drop of foot traffic into its retail stores, while seeing a dramatic growth in customers using its online tools.

New Zealand architecture firm Warren and Mahoney designed the new stores, keeping in mind: if it’s quicker, cheaper, and easier to shop online from home, what can we do to get customers to venture out?

The rollout began with a NAB smart store in the Docklands area of Melbourne. 

The floor has no tellers. Instead, the store’s layout concentrates on keeping staff at the front of the store, connecting with customers and getting the customer to wherever they feel comfortable. 

There’s a lounge; you can sit at a bar; you can sit at a low comfortable seat or you can go and stand at the information table. 

Breaking down barriers was key to the success of enabling staff to actually have more conversations with their customers. 

For simple transactions, customers are directed to self-service devices, and customers can signal for help from the staff through an installed app.

The devices are to help staff be readily available for those with a more complex service enquiry.

NAB saw the opportunity to foster a closer working relationship with their business customers. 

A series of discussions with the bank’s current clients about their ideas, expectations and apprehensions revealed that manufacturers were finding costs were an expensive part of their operations and many had moved from an office into their warehouses. 

Two thirds of the entire physical space of the Docklands store is dedicated to customers for their own business use.

A common space was designed for NAB business customers to use as a co-share office as well as a banking environment, a similar concept to airport lounges. 

This has left a physical gap for where they can meet clients, hold seminars, training or internal meetings. 

Surf, design, travel – these are the things that gets Leigh out of bed every morning (those, and a piping hot cup of milky tea). She holds qualifications in both fashion design and communications, and has written a bunch of fashion, beauty, food, travel and design stories.

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