In a post retail-apocalypse world, the high-street is still finding its feet. Shops are still closing at a rapid rate and the shift in the nature of bricks and mortar spaces is prevalent.
Pop-ups and showrooms are the high-street’s zeitgeist. This change in behaviour for retailers has seeped into other sectors, pushing them to evolve the services they offer.
Amongst these businesses adapting the way they communicate with their customers are tech brands and banks. Pushing to offer a more holistic experience to their customers, these companies that stereotypically live in the virtual world, hope to bring visitors into physical spaces – creating human to human relationships and offering something a bit more tangible.
Aiming to attract millennials, banks such as Capital One have opened branches that could be mistaken for cafes. Offering the newest tech, free coffee and even comfy seating areas. Santander is rolling out its global Work Café chain in the UK, offering small businesses and entrepreneurs free co-working spaces and banking facilities.
Described as “More than a café and more than a bank” by Susan Allen, head of retail and business banking at Santander, the Work Café will act as a ‘Vibrant hub’ for the local community.
We’ve seen shops evolve into destinations and modern banks are hoping to do the same. Welcoming people into their spaces, off the similar premise of Apple’s ‘Town Squares’, we are seeing banks transform from cold corporate spaces to attractive destinations.
Following in the footsteps of these forward-thinking banks, are technology firms. Facebook being the most recent to jump on the bandwagon. Recently announcing it plans to open five Facebook cafes across the UK, the brand is spreading itself from your phone screens, to the high street.
After years of privacy scandals, these Facebook Cafes will educate visitors on why and how to customise their privacy settings (along with a free coffee). Facebook commented that the idea was sparked following a recent poll that stated that 27% of Londoners don’t know how to change their social media privacy settings.
The temporarily Facebook branded cafes which will take place within existing coffee shops. The Union Brew Lab in Edinburgh, Coffee Barker in Cardiff, The Attendant in London, Takk in Manchester and The Flour Pot Cafe in Brighton will all be hosting the tech-giants pop-up until the 5th September.