A few months ago I wrote here about our benchmark of the sales content and functionality of UK banks' sales sites. My colleague Vanessa Niemeyer has just published a benchmark of the big four Australian banks' sales sites. Crushingly for an Englishman, the Australians beat us. The four Australian banks achieved an average score of 56 (out of 100), compared with an average of 48 for the British banks.*

National Australia Bank (NAB) came top, just ahead of Westpac in second place, with Commonwealth Bank of Australia not far behind. The Australian banks demonstrate a series of good practices in their application processes, such as cross-selling during the application and automated confirmations. We highlight many of the good practices that the eBusiness teams at the Australian banks have developed in the report which is available for Forrester clients here.

What struck me as an analyst was that the two groups of banks did well in different areas. Firms in the same country and industry sector tend to watch each other closely and swiftly follow any innovation by one of their direct competitors. And so it seems with banks' Web sites. The British banks as a group have done better at providing research content and functionality that helps customers find the right products, while the Australian banks have done far better at building easy and efficient application processes.

The other thing that struck me was the vast difference in content and functionality between the site of National Australia Bank and that of Yorkshire Bank, which is part of the same NAB group. I'm well aware that building an effective sales site is about as easy as beating the Wallabies at rugby, particularly if you don't have the budget, people or underlying IT infrastructure that you need, but surely Yorkshire Bank could learn a few tricks from its Aussie sister company?

If you want to learn more about how to increase online sales on your site, Vanessa will be hosting a workshop on the Essentials Of Best Practice Financial Services Web Sites in London on November 17th.


* I take some consolation from Britain's Co-operative Bank being the best individual player in this particular match, achieving the best score for Web site sales content and functionality.