Emirates NBD has worked for nearly 60 years in successfully developing its brand. The Emirates NBD Group is one of the largest banking groups in the United Arab Emirates and is ranked in Forbes' list of the world's best-regarded companies. Its consumer and business financial services have a broad reach, controlling 24% of the consumer credit card market.

But Emirates NBD felt like it needed innovative ways to retain and track customers while building brand loyalty.

The bank wanted one segment of its brand, particularly its credit-card services, to provide a personal touch and explore how customers can engage with them. Rather than simply tweaking its financial products, Emirates NBD brought in Sitecore and Horizontal Digital to launch a native lifestyle app called More. The objective was to improve the customer experience and find value in the way customers feel about the bank and its products.

Judging from the app launch, it has been a qualified success. In the first six months, the app was downloaded 30,000 times. This prompted the bank's goal of tripling that total over the next six months. The app has about 4,000 deals for various retailers and services, including dining establishments, hotels, retailers, auto repair, and rental companies.

To get a better understanding of its customers, Emirates NBD leveraged Sitecore technology to develop personalized offers and make credit-card spending more of a lifestyle experience. For its work, Emirates NBD was chosen the winner of the 2022 Sitecore Experience Award for Seamless Commerce Operations and Experiences in EMEA.

At a Sitecore Symposium 2022 breakout session, George Smith, Managing Director at Horizontal Digital, and Ashish Bansal, AVP of Digital Marketing Technology at Emirates NBD, detailed how the bank used customer experience (CX) as a competitive advantage.

Emirates NBD turns to Sitecore to develop its app

Emirates NBD used Sitecore Experience Commerce (XC) and Sitecore Experience Platform (XP) to develop the app's technology. To optimize the app, Emirates NBD sought technology that would create profiles based on available customer information such as affluence and earnings. The app also gathered customer-selected preferences made during app onboarding, including choices during app usage, in-app behavior, and geo-location.

This data influences a reward-based incentive program that offers customer discounts, something that the bank was struggling to determine before. To improve personalization, Emirates NBD expanded its use of Sitecore on Microsoft Azure as a Platform as a Service (PaaS) deployment.

This gives customers highly targeted and tailored deals when using the More app. The app learns customer preferences and interests and serves deals based on real-life transactions. For example, a user might indicate salads and gyms as a spending preference, but the data tells a more accurate story, such as spending on television streaming services, Smith said.

“True personalization is not just taking one data set, but actually looking at multiple [data sets],” Smith said.

Bansal said the experience goes beyond digital financial tools.

“We have to think of the data, we have to think about the analytics, we have to think about time to market, we have to think about the profitability of the bank, we have to think about the customer,” Bansal said.

Where does Liv. Digital Bank fit in?

The More app serves as a companion to the Emirates NBD Group's popular Liv. Digital Bank, a service that is marketed as a bank built by and for Millennials. Emirates NBD manages and operates Liv. Digital Bank.

The app's lifestyle banking and financial planning personalization helped inform, guide, and motivate customers to manage their finances better, in real-time and in their own language. Users can tap to view spending, split bills, send money, and pay bills. It also provided users with prayer time, weather, and currency conversion.

With Liv. Digital Bank, Emirates NBD acquired more than 400,000 customers, with 10,000 new ones signing up each month. This increased customer engagement and produced a 75% increase in app usage.

This adds to Emirates NBD's market share, which spans 10 countries and three continents. In first-half 2022 financial results, Emirates NBD has a 24% market share of UAE debit and credit card spending.

Emirates NBD also had a history with Sitecore. The bank worked with Sitecore to develop personalized and contextual browsing experiences for its employee portal, also using Sitecore XP. The results were increased operational efficiencies, including cost, time, and resources.

The collaboration helped Emirates NBD win a 2019 Sitecore Experience Award.

And finally, more about the More app

The More app is all about CX. It ultimately provides bank customers with a one-stop, ease-of-use shopping experience to purchase products and services. For the bank, it provides valuable data on spending preferences.

Smith said the technology changes how credit cards reflect customers.

“This is not about the logic of the product, the APR, and the credit card,” he said. “This is about the psychology of: Can you make credit cards mean something else? Can you make them a ticket to an exclusive marketplace? Can you change what that credit card means — and essentially isolate and add more value to the ownership of that credit card?”

To see if Sitecore can help your business, see what we can offer organizations in the financial services sector.

Jason Masini is the Senior Director of Content Marketing at Sitecore. Connect with him on LinkedIn and Twitter.