Steven Donaldson

What ING “gets” about the customer connection

ING Bank is totally online; it has no bank branches but it does have coffee shops. What? No branches but coffee shops? Yes. ING has done something radical in banking, they’ve created a no-banking environment – a coffee shop, a place to get something and hang out but not to do your banking. After banking is something you do online.

The latest location is in San Francisco’s Financial District, near Union Square, and it’s a radical departure from a traditional bank in its look. It’s more of an experience more than a functional location.


It’s a cafe, a hangout place, and really a place for the local community. Like Apple, ING gets that the “store” environment isn’t just about pushing product. It’s about letting you browse, connect, get conformable with who they are. Since ING only exists online, how do you create a positive storefront experience for the brand and promote confidence in banking with them? This experience becomes associated with trust, connection and hopefully promotes more visitors to become customers.


If marketers and retailers really understood more about inviting customers in and letting them play, hang out, and experience, they would open and build stronger relationships with their customers and forgr a stronger connection with their brand, not just sell products.

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