Monday, July 09, 2007

Breaking into banking the Wal-Mart way

Did Wal-Mart beat Bank of America to the punch? Maybe the retail giant is the one who is going to innovate banking first. The June 20 issue of Business Week includes a story by Pallavi Gogoi about Wal-Mart’s entry into the banking category. Competitors don’t like it, of course (who wants to compete against Wal-Mart?) but industry experts think it might just add something new to banking.

Mostly the offerings look like the same services you can get from check cashing companies and wiring services. From Wal-Mart’s perspective, this is good for their bottom line – it allows them to sell more to the same customer base as these are services a large portion of their customers are already buying elsewhere.

The lesson here is one of enhancing your offerings. Finding what your customers are already using and then finding a way to offer the same service with more efficiency and at a better price than your competitors is a great way to increase your own value.

I’m not saying Wal-Mart is going to change the way we do our banking, but they do seem to be shaking things up a bit.

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