Sainsbury's Bank prepares for online growth

Sainsbury's Bank prepares for online growth

UK supermarket bank Sainsbury's has revamped its Web site in anticipation of a continued shift by consumers to online purchasing of financial services products.

Introducing a redesigned Web site with new online customer support tools, Sainsbury's Bank points to research by NOP World Financial which suggests that the 31% growth in the online purchasing of financial services products seen in 2003 will continue in 2004. According to these figures, the number of adults who arrange financial services products online should increase to 3 million.

Research from the bank - which reports a 600% increase in people using its site in the past three years - indicates that a majority of people (52%) prefer the convenience of banking online. Others cite a lack of sales pressure (45%), speed (39%), product discounts (37%) and having more time to understand products and services (31%).

Derek Bottom, deputy chief executive, Sainsbury’s Bank says: "People are becoming increasingly time poor and this has been a significant factor behind the growth of online banking and supermarket banking in general. Our strategy is to provide quality products in a way that customers find convenient and easy to use and a strong online presence is central to us maintaining this."

In terms of which financial services products are most likely to be bought online, motor insurance tops the league. NOP World Financial’s research estimates that 2.3 million people bought retail financial products online last year, and 52% of them purchased motor insurance. This is followed by credit cards (26%) and home insurance (22%).

The overhaul of Sainsbury's Bank's online presence and banking systems was conducted over a 12-month period by a team of 70 software engineers from HBOS, which supplies back-end processing for the supermarket chain. The retailer says it expects the new Web site to handle £200 million of transactions in its first year.

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