Wells Fargo’s Blueprint for Rolling Out New Products

  • Philip Ryan
  • December 12, 2012
  • 1

Wells Fargo & Co. announced at the end of November that it had rolled out remote deposit capture (RDC) nationwide.

The roll out provides a case study into how Wells Fargo introduces products into the marketplace.

Wells Fargo was relatively late to the remote-deposit-capture game, first introducing the feature in May 2012. It is now the last of the four largest banks in the nation to introduce the feature to all of its US customers.

The San Francisco-based bank chose to roll out RDC in stages, first testing two states (Washington and Arizona) in late May, then moving to 15 markets around the country in June, all the while planning to go nationwide by the end of 2012.

Among the earliest markets to receive the feature were the Bay Area and Kansas and Nebraska. These particular markets were selected, said Brian Pearce, head of the retail mobile channel for Wells Fargo, because they contained a mix of urban and rural areas.

“Slow rollouts are how we tend to test features,” Pearce said. “We wanted to get it right. We wanted to test a mix of urban and rural areas and see, how would it be used differently?”

Roughly 60 days after the June rollout, focus groups were convened to discuss how the feature was working. It turned out that there were not significantly different usage patterns between rural and urban areas, or indeed in any of the areas being tested. “Universally, customers loved it,” Pearce said.

Wells picked up some valuable information about its customers during the rollout, too. Pearce said, “We learned that the biggest users are small- and micro-business owners. They deal with lots of checks and have been the most active users of the service.”

Some adjustments were made during the testing period, particularly to error messages, which received some “fine-tuning.”

“We began the process of rolling out nationwide around October 30,” Pearce said. “We saw that RDC was a really great feature for helping people manage their finances in Sandy-esque conditions, when maybe traditional banking wasn’t available.”

Wells Fargo will market the now-universal availability of RDC in a low-key manner, rather than with a big marketing push. “We’ll do some email and in-session marketing,” Pearce said. “Just putting the ‘Try It’ link does a lot.”

Wells Fargo has 9 million mobile banking users and total assets exceeding $1.3 trillion.

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Philip Ryan is Senior Editor of Bank Innovation and Senior Director of INV Fintech. He began covering financial services in 2012 and has more than 15 years' experience in online journalism, which makes him quite old. He can be reached at pryan@royalmedia.com.

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