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Suncorp to open first Discovery Store in Sydney CBD

Pitt Street Mall 450

Pitt Street Mall 738

Suncorp's Discovery Store will offer customers a unique retail experience tailored to their life goals.

Suncorp, which provides banking, insurance and superannuation services, will open its first Discovery Store in Sydney's bustling Pitt Street Mall just in time for Christmas on 14 December. The Discovery Store will offer an immersive retail experience including events and interactive workshops and is set to be the first of its kind in Australia.

The store will be open to the public and will host educational workshops, guest speakers, live events, interactive digital tools as well as plenty of space to simply sit back, relax with a coffee and enjoy the free WiFi. Suncorp customers will be able to access unique offers and explore Suncorp's suite of financial products and services for every stage of life. Suncorp CEO and managing director Michael Cameron said the store wouldn't be focused on the products themselves like a traditional branch, but rather on a customer's goals.

"We know customers fall in love with a home, not a home loan, and so in our Discovery Store we will be having conversations that shift the focus away from financial products, to be about a customer's life goals. The Discovery Store is the physical embodiment of our Marketplace strategy. It will be a destination for customers, where they can experience the Marketplace first hand, having solutions tailored to them, drawing on everything Suncorp has to offer, as well as innovative solutions from our third-party partners," said Michael.

Suncorp's new double-story retail store is an interesting concept, considering bank branches have been rapidly declining across the country for several years now as Australians embrace digital solutions. Data from RFI Group shows the number of customer transactions taking place in a branch as opposed to online is dropping by 10% each year. Over the past year Australia's biggest bank, CommBank, has achieved an overall reduction in branch space of 50%. This is to accommodate the drop in the number of its customers actually using its branches, down from 100 million in 2007 to 50 million in 2017.

So why is Suncorp investing in such a big store smack-bang in the heart of Sydney's CBD? CEO Michael Cameron said the decision is a strategic one. "We are creating strategically located retail stores to engage, educate and connect with our communities, while at the same time we are investing in and growing our range of digital services and online offerings. It will be open seven days a week and open for late trading. We want people to drop-in, bring the whole family along, have coffee and explore what's on offer," he said.

While the Discovery Store is the first of its kind in the country, Suncorp isn't the only bank to open a physical store that is not a branch in an attempt to engage with consumers in the real world. In August leading digital bank ING, an online bank which offers no physical banking branches, opened it's first ING Lounge in Sydney. Like Suncorp's Discovery Store, ING's Lounge isn't focussed on its products and services but is instead a place for the community to come in and relax with a coffee.

Picture: Shutterstock

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