Bass Pro Shops
In late 2016, Capital One acquired Bass Pro Shops as a cobranded retail partner. This newly formed partnership meant Capital One would design, build and manage all credit card related activities for Bass Pro Shops. Part of the newly formed partnership included not only ownership of the web and mobile channels for acquiring and servicing credit card customers, but also ownership of the in-store credit card application experience. As a member of the credit card application design team at Capital One, I got the opportunity to work on the in-store credit card application experience.
From store visits, interviews with store employees and current customers, we concluded that the current in-store credit card application experience depends heavily on associate engagement.
The current application experience is a paper form the customer completes by hand. After the customer hands the paper application to the associate at the counter, the associate has to enter the customer’s information from the paper application into a point of sale terminal at the counter. This process takes time, concentration from the associate and patience from the customer. A single typo on the computer can lead to a pending approval, and even a declined application. The paper application also presents a number of security risks. A customer’s information could be compromised if the paper application is not handled properly at the counter.
During peak hours, associates may have to assist multiple customers at once. This leads to a pile-up of applications and slows down the entire process.
We saw the opportunity to leverage Capital One's existing technological capabilities. The credit card application platform, built in-house by Capital One, would allow customers to safely apply for the Bass Pro Shops credit card, while also allowing Bass Pro Shops to scale the experience to the entire company. The platform would not only be used for the in-store experience, but also for the web and mobile experiences.
Tablets were chosen for the in-store experience because of their portability and ease of use. Tablets allow for an efficient, seamless experience for both associates and customers, while also protecting the customer's personal information.
Using a primary storyboard to illustrate the proposed experience, we began designing around the interaction between the associates and the customers. Wireframes were sketched out in order to identify what screens were needed to be built on top of the existing application platform.
Finally, a flow diagram was created to visualize the entire customer experience from start to finish.
Before we launched the new in-store credit card application experience, we wanted to conduct testing with customers, associates and managers.
Customers felt the new application experience was quick, simple and standard. Some of the participants even commented on how the experience felt more secure than a paper application. Customers were also excited to see they could be instantly approved for a card as soon as they completed the application.
Each associate and manager who interacted with the prototype gave positive feedback. Their only ask was that Capital One provide detailed training modules to help all associates understand the new experience.
Associates and managers saw benefits to the new experience including lower risk of associate error, less paperwork needed to complete the application and a faster in-store experience for customers.
Final In-Store Experience
The final in-store credit card application experience is built around not just the credit card application, but also the events leading up to the application and the steps following completion. The experience includes step-by-step instructions for both customers and associates. This reduces the cognitive load on the associates, while still helping customers complete the application.
With a faster application experience, customers are approved on the spot. They receive their physical card in the store thanks to the card embossers located in every Bass Pro Shops location. With customers receiving their cards upon approval, they can use their card for same day purchases.