Designing Next-Generation Branches: Engaging Millennials and Gen Z Consumers

Digital Integration and Seamless Experiences

The dramatic shift toward digital banking has been pronounced in every age bracket, with younger generations in particular prioritizing digital services over the in-person experience. But as Millennials and Gen Z consumers age into more complex banking needs like mortgage services and business loans, financial institutions can remain competitive by offering a seamless experience between their digital and traditional service channels.

While banking consumers are more likely to handle basic questions and transactions on their apps and web browsers, they’re also more knowledgeable about their own accounts and how to find the information they are looking for. And though they may visit your branch office for more complex transactions, you can provide easy account access through self-service kiosks within branches. These user-friendly kiosks empower consumers to perform routine transactions independently, such as depositing checks, transferring funds, or updating account information, without the need for assistance from a teller. By offering self-service options, financial institutions can streamline operations, reduce wait times, and enhance customer satisfaction.

Another essential aspect of digital integration is the blending of mobile apps and online services into the branch experience. Millennials and Gen Z consumers expect the same level of convenience and accessibility from their banking apps as they do from other digital platforms. By offering features such as mobile check deposits, account management, and appointment scheduling via apps, financial institutions can meet the needs of tech-savvy consumers and enhance their overall banking experience.

Interactive touchscreens are another valuable tool for engaging millennial and Gen Z consumers within the branch. These touchscreens can be strategically placed throughout the branch to provide visitors with access to product information, financial literacy resources, and personalized recommendations. By leveraging interactive technology, banks and credit unions can educate consumers, promote financial wellness, and facilitate informed decision-making.

Flexible Spaces for Collaboration

Younger consumers are drawn to interior designs that reflect modernity, authenticity, and innovation. Open, flexible layouts that offer various seating options, such as cozy lounge areas, communal tables, and private pods, cater to their preference for versatility and choice. Incorporating technology seamlessly into the design, such as interactive touchscreens, digital displays, and charging stations, enhances the overall experience and appeals to the tech-savvy and tech-dependent.

Additionally, incorporating sustainable materials and green elements, along with showcasing local art and cultural references, demonstrates a commitment to social responsibility and environmental stewardship, which resonates with their values. Overall, interior designs that prioritize comfort, functionality, and authenticity while embracing innovation and sustainability are likely to appeal to younger consumers at a retail branch.

Event spaces are another valuable addition to the branch environment, allowing financial institutions to host financial literacy workshops, networking events, and community gatherings. These events provide opportunities for consumers to engage with representatives, learn about financial topics, and connect with other members of the community. By hosting events that are relevant and engaging, banks and credit unions can strengthen relationships with their customers and members, build brand loyalty, and position themselves as trusted advisors in their communities.

Reflect Social Responsibility and Community Values

Millennial and Gen Z consumers are increasingly drawn to brands that demonstrate a commitment to sustainability and social responsibility. As such, incorporating eco-friendly design elements into branch spaces can help financial institutions appeal to these environmentally conscious demographics. This can include using sustainable materials, such as reclaimed wood or recycled plastics, energy-efficient lighting fixtures, and green spaces or living walls. By highlighting their commitment to sustainability, financial institutions can attract consumers who prioritize environmental stewardship and demonstrate their dedication to making a positive impact on the planet.

Think locally. Showcasing local art and culture within branch spaces can help banks and credit unions connect with the communities they serve and appeal to the values of millennial and Gen Z consumers. This can include displaying artwork from local artists, incorporating cultural elements and motifs into the branch design, and hosting events that celebrate the diversity and vibrancy of the local community. By embracing local art and culture, financial institutions can create inclusive and welcoming branch environments that resonate with consumers on a deeper level.

Our work: Find out how NewGround renovated the Education First Federal Credit Union

Community engagement is another key aspect of demonstrating social responsibility and building meaningful connections with millennial and Gen Z demographics. Financial institutions can partner with local nonprofits, charities, and community organizations to organize volunteer opportunities, sponsor events, and support initiatives that address pressing social issues. By actively participating in community events and giving back to the communities they serve, financial institutions can foster goodwill, enhance their reputation, and attract socially conscious potential customers and members who want to support businesses that share their values.

Engage with Your Audience with a Strategic Approach

NewGround recognizes the pivotal roles of strategy and design in shaping the future of banking experiences for millennials and Gen Z. Through innovative design strategies focused on digital integration, flexible spaces, sustainability, financial education, and storytelling, we empower financial institutions to create branches that resonate with the values and preferences of younger consumers. Our holistic approach ensures that every aspect of branch transformation aligns with the evolving needs of the digital-native generation, fostering deeper connections and driving long-term success. By partnering with NewGround, banks and credit unions can confidently navigate the shifting landscape of retail banking and emerge as leaders in consumer-centric design innovation.

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