Within the next two years, 25% of the top 50 global banks will have launched a banking app store to improve app discovery, user experience and collaboration, says Gartner.
The explosive growth of apps is causing significant challenges for the banking industry, says the analyst house, as the visibility of customer banking apps in public stores decreases as more third party applications come online. Moreover, the more apps a bank deploys, the more challenging it becomes for users to discover the right app for them.
"Left unaddressed, these two challenges and others could really have a negative impact on banking revenues and customer experience," says Kristen Moyer, research vice president at Gartner. "Banks can use banking app stores to improve app discovery but only if the added cost and complexity are warranted."
The issue is most pressing for banks that offer an application programming interface. Public Web APIs deployed to third-party developers, customers, partners, employees and others serve as a multiplier to the number of apps deployed by the bank itself.
Banking app stores that either provide immediate downloads onsite or link to public stores like iTunes will often be most appropriate for banks with an API platform or those that have deployed 15 to 20 or more apps, says Moyer.
Banks with fewer apps may not need to devote resource to a purpose-built app store, but should still consider re-engineering their websites to make it easier for customers to find apps and provide feedback.
"This will be most effective when the total number of apps is less than 10 to 20," says Moyer. "For each app, provide complete descriptions and screen shots, and allow social commentary. Each app could then be linked to the associated public app store."
As more banks deploy app stores, it will put competitive pressure on those that do not, she believes, advising all banks to evaluate the need for a bank-specific app store in the 2014-to-2015 time frame.