Roboadvisors Need to Find the Right Amount of Automation for Consumers

Does your roboadvisor have too little automation, too much, or just enough to satisfy consumers?

That’s the question robodavisory services should be asking themselves, according to Matt Wilcox, senior vice president of marketing strategy and innovation for Fiserv. The reason is that while automated investing services are becoming more mainstream in financial service, it’s the level of automation that decides whether a consumer is actually comfortable in using them.

“With robo-investing, it’s going to be a fine line,” Wilcox told Bank Innovation, especially as roboadvisors learn to give more focus advice in order to properly manage larger portfolios. “When there’s more risk associated with it, we’re going to find the comfort level of people.”

Consumers have grown used to automating simple, daily financial decisions with the features that come with typical online banking (remote check deposit, budgeting tools, etc), as one can see from the rising number of online and mobile bank users. However, those same consumers are still balking at full automation, especially when it comes to financial transactions with a higher level of risk.

This consumer reticence might be why most roboadvisors are hanging onto the hybrid model, and why some are even re-introducing the human element, as Betterment, one of the largest independent roboadvisors currently in play, did just last week with the update of its mobile app.

Businesses will also have to find that consumer sweet spot as they continue to move forward with things like artificial intelligence and virtual reality. Luckily, said Wilcox, consumers seem to be responding well to products using the foundations of those two technologies, specifically, machine learning and augmented reality.

“Augmented reality is started to be rolled out, using contextual data — we are seeing augmented reality leverage existing programs, like Apple Pay, Samsung Pay,” said Wilcox, adding that more merchants are looking closer at using the technology via mobile for a better customer experience. “Imagine if you’re walking down the street, you wave your phone in front of a merchant, it lets you know if you come in, there are sales, rewards,” said Wilcox.

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