More and more, consumers are turning to their mobile devices to manage their financial lives, and they expect to be able to access and accomplish a lot from their devices. While the growing reliance on mobile devices in the financial space is due in part to millennials entering the workforce, this trend crosses generational gaps; a recent study by Edison Research found that more than half of consumers age 55 and up now own smartphones. Retirement firms have responded to this trend and, in the new year, many firms in the Retirement Plan Monitor coverage group have unveiled enhancements to their mobile platforms.
Within the first few months of this year, four firms in our coverage group alone have implemented new responsively designed websites with updated navigational structures. These firms also found ways to leverage recent mobile innovations and make their sites more personalized and interactive. Aon Hewitt’s new responsive participant site launched at the onset of the year and features a consolidated navigational structure and personalized homepage resources. Transamerica’s launched in April and features a revamped, mobile-optimized main menu, more comprehensive Are You OnTrack? tool and new participant Message Center. In March, TIAA unveiled its new responsive public site with streamlined navigation and more customizable, interactive content centered around a series of relatable personas. Merrill Lynch also joined the party and relaunched myFuture, its quarterly e-newsletter, featuring a responsive design and feedback features.
Aon Hewitt and Transamerica Responsive Participant Site Homepages and Merrill Lynch MyFuture Newsletter
Fidelity instead invested in its NetBenefits app, available on iPads, iPhones and Android devices. The firm revamped the iPad app, implementing a unique design that seamlessly transitions users between the tablet-friendly desktop site and tablet app. This approach provides participants with all the benefits of using a tablet, while still being able to access the content-rich desktop site. In keeping with the trend toward personalization, the firm added a personalized messaging capability to both the smartphone and iPad apps. The capability analyzes a participant’s retirement account, determines the next best action in terms of contribution and savings strategies and provides messaging based on those results.
Fidelity NetBenefits App Homepage and Personalized Messaging Capability
Other firms, too, have invested in their apps and leveraged the capabilities of mobile devices to improve their customer experiences and further engage participants. Transamerica and Wells Fargo added Touch ID login to their apps, while Prudential and Principal now offer SMS messaging notifications to DC plan participants. MassMutual added a contribution rate change transaction capability to its app and introduced a branded game—FUTUREJET—where players fly over FUTUREJET City collecting bricks of fuel to promote short-term and long-term savings goals. The game functions as an interactive way to demonstrate the importance of saving for both the short and the long term.
MassMutual FUTUREJET Promotion and Interface
As mobile devices become an increasingly important means of managing our financial lives, retirement firms have competed to offer the best customer experiences, often by leverage innovations in the mobile space. The nature of these innovations has continually demonstrated the value of personalization, engagement and interactivity. If the past is any indicator of the future, it will be the firms that produce personalized content and interact with their consumers, fostering education and engagement, that will not only provide the best experiences but, more importantly, develop a clientele that is well prepared for a long and happy retirement.