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  • Writer's pictureOliver Lane

Blog 5: CIRCA5000 Key Recommendations for Product Evolution

Read time: 6 minutes

Our final blog wraps up our analysis of the CIRCA5000 mobile app, outlining 4 key recommendations for CIRCA5000 to evolve their digital product and help maintain and grow their competitive advantage. We have also added a number of competitor recommendations, for brand looking to compete in the market.

1. Focus on information architecture to ensure a scalable product

Image: CIRCA5000's setting screen overloaded with functionality.

CIRCA5000 has a lot of useful features and functionality but due to the way to app has been architected a number of them are difficult to find and some have priority in the navigation where they perhaps should not. A good example of this is the low-frequency task of ‘inviting a friend’ to use the app, which could be navigated to via an icon in the top level header/navigation, and replaced in the core bottom navigation with a hard to copy and sticky feature such as the Community Hub.

‘Transactions’, ‘Pots’ and ‘Manage payments’ are also valuable features, and could sit off the ‘Invest’ home screen to add personalisation and consistency in the feature set, also reducing clutter in the Settings.

The FinTech industry is rapidly evolving, and brands need to be able to flex and scale products to meet these changing needs all the time, which can only be achieved through a scalable app design.

For competitors, focus on building scalably from the outset to avoid re-designing in the future. Users get familiar with product layouts, and frustrated when things change. Monzo changed the app architecture and design in 2019, and whilst a necessary change for a scalable app in the future, users were not happy and the investment in design and marketing to do so would have been significant, which could have been avoided if future-proofed from the outset.

2. Personalisation is key to creating an engaging and sticky product

Image: NatWest's Carbon footprint calculator

Portfolio performance within the ‘Insights’ feature, as well as some basic transactional data in ‘Settings’ are the only examples of personalisation within the CIRCA5000 app. Without personalisation there is less of a relationship between the brand and the user, and users can become less engaged and less sticky.

To improve this, some lower cost examples of personalisation could be looking at the portfolio performance chart and adding some clearer information of when the user started investing or including reference to when and how much their portfolio had invested in. Similarly, including personalised content / articles related to the user’s investment portfolio in the ‘Explore’ feature could be a simple way to give a personalised experience. A good example of this would be the Robinhood or Freetrade apps, who both have a clean and simple app interface with a focus on personalisation of the content shown (performance charts, share ownership breakdown and news etc.).

A bigger initiative could be using the Open Banking data (already in place through round-ups), and showing ‘Exclusive rewards’ based on transactional data of spending habits from linked bank accounts. Or, using the Open Banking data in the ‘Offset’ feature to understand users spending habits, and therefore their personal cost to offset. Our SuperUser referenced the NatWest carbon calculator, which is powered by an API from CoGo and could be used by CIRCA5000 in the app.

For competitors, ensure that features are built with personalisation in mind, whether that it during the initial launch, or on the roadmap for the future. Through effective personalisation, brands can create a sticky experience, engaging users for the long-term and differentiating themselves in the market. In developing personalised features, leverage open banking data, and 3rd party solution providers rather than building from scratch.

3. Evolve payment option coverage

Image: Revolut's breadth of payment options

CIRCA5000 strongly encourage users to add money to their account, from the multiple payment CTAs to the projections tool to increase top up values, there are a number of designs and functions in the app to promote this behaviour. In terms of actual payment options however, there is room for improvement.

Right now users are able to add money via one off top-up, monthly top-up and round-ups, however these actions can only be completed by one linked account. CIRCA5000 could expand the linked bank account options to enable multiple cards and offer Apple Pay on one off top-ups.

An example of a product excelling in this space is the Revolut app, offering; easy bank transfers, salary contributions, multiple card linking, Apple/Google Pay and regular bank transfers. They offer all of this functionality with clear and effective infographic explanations of each function, accessed from a simple ‘Add money’ navigation button on the home screen.

To further validate the need for these features, use analytics and surveys to gauge the interest before investing in development.

4. Improve education and insight to create a sticky app

Image: Indian neobank Jupiter's community forum

The ‘Explore’ feature currently hosts some valuable content but everything we observed is read-only, with little opportunity for user interaction.

By creating features that require user’s to engage with the app, such as a quizzes or forums, as well as adding a sense of progress for users, such as progression trackers or awarding points, CIRCA5000 are likely to improve consumption of educational content and boost user engagement in the app.

The ‘Community hub’ also presents a great opportunity for educating users and sharing insights. Right now, the feature is hidden within the Settings and lacks both depth and breadth of content within the range of community topics. Our SuperUser was also able to have a common username, indicating there aren’t a huge number of users on there. This feature can be developed at a lower cost as the community is hosted on the popular forum software tool Discourse using their out-the-box functionality.

An example of a FinTech that is using the community forum effectively is Jupiter, the Indian neobank, who have built their community forum to focus on two key areas; ‘challenges of personal finance and how to overcome them’ and ‘user needs and recommendations for the Jupiter app’. This approach is effective in promoting better engagement and creating more content from broader user types and also helps the Jupiter team receive user feedback to fuel the product roadmap.

Through some strategic content creation and some focus on growing the participant user base, CIRCA5000 could shape the ‘Community hub’ to be a valuable tool to improve education for their users, creating a sticky platform for users.

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