Consumer experiences like shopping for groceries, mattresses and eyewear — traditionally accomplished in person — are shifting online.
A trip to the grocery store used to mean humming along to a Tracy Chapman or Counting Crows song while making an extra lap or two in search of wherever the store decided to hide lemon juice.
I used to enjoy shopping at the grocery store. I could usually listen to a good podcast while making my way through the list. Nowadays, my wife and I upload our shopping list to a subscription app and pick up our groceries in our car — much like we’d run through a fast-food drive-thru.
We bought our last mattress online, without testing it. We still visit our local optometrist for eye examinations, but we purchase glasses online. Our reasoning ranges from convenience to cutting costs and saving time (and sanity in trying to find the lemon juice).
Online is clearly becoming the preferred method of shopping.
We’re seeing this trend infiltrate the financial advisory business, too. According to a McKinsey report, 40 to 45% of affluent consumers ($100,000 to $1 million in assets) who changed their wealth management firm in the last two years chose a digitally led firm and worked with advisors via the phone.
A Virtual Trend
At first look, the shift toward digital advisors seems fleeting at best. Traditionally, the financial advice industry has relied on face-to-face meetings between client and advisor. Can any other method replicate the trust built from that?
It’s a trend that seems unlikely to translate. But a closer look will reveal the shift toward digital and the option for virtual is beneficial for both clients and advisors.
Virtual advisors don’t have to abide by the 8 to 5 workday. Technology (e.g., video conference calls, texting, etc.) allows for greater accessibility. Advisors can define their own workday and clients save time they would have spent traveling to and from their advisor’s office. Convenience is the name of the virtual advisor game.