Western Union’s Leap to Digital Dominance

  • Financial Services

The Challenge

Western Union’s position as the premier choice for the unbanked was threatened by the digitalization of payment services and increasing competition in the industry. Vivaldi partnered with Western Union to identify innovation opportunities for future growth and to demonstrate its capabilities and strengths to new audiences.

The Opportunity

To further propel their standing as a go-to brand and break through the competition in a saturated market, Western Union had to develop potential revenue streams to reach new customer segments, pivot to new opportunities, and rethink their entire growth strategy.

The Outcome

The disruptive innovation work empowered Western Union to expand into a non-core product line and cater to new audiences by successfully capturing the needs and pain points of travelers. The new Travel Wise offering demonstrated Western Union’s commitment to leading the industry forward while staying true to the company’s long-standing heritage.

Beyond the Wire Transfer

As a global leader in cross-currency, cross-border money movement & payment services, Western Union built a trusted brand among migrant populations wishing to quickly and securely send money to their families. For the unbanked who were sending remittances to family members living in under-banked regions, Western Union was the premier choice.

Yet over the years, the digitalization of payment services and new market players from other industries had taken market share from Western Union. In order to reverse the trend, Vivaldi was engaged to identify new opportunities to introduce the brand to new audiences and update their business growth strategies. As a long-term partner of Western Union, we had the advantage of intimately understanding the company and products, while bringing a new consumer lens to identifying innovation opportunities.

“Vivaldi combined craft and science in an end-to-end process that started by deeply understanding traveler needs and ended with a lineup of products that attracted new customers to our brand.”
— Nicole Zimmermann, VP Global Customer Strategy & Relationship Management, Western Union

Finding Value in an Expanded Customer Base

During the eight-month project, an assessment of all money moving occasions was conducted to gain a thorough understanding of the potential revenue streams that new markets could represent.

Leisure travel to developing countries was identified as an attractive target as travellers move on average $230 billion in cash per year. In order to better understand this new target segment and get a clearer picture of travel corridors, a quantitative survey was conducted in the US, UK, and Germany. We identified sub-segments and decided to further explore three of these through in-depth interviews to understand the frustrations and fears travellers encountered during their trips to developing countries.

Building on these insights, Vivaldi and Western Union conducted a two-day cross-functional ideation workshop to develop a playbook of exciting new product and service concepts. We brought a select number of initial concepts to life in order to test and evaluate market resonance, attractiveness and to understand how these new products would absorb market share from existing payment methods. Based on the concept research, an optimized product and value proposition was rolled out as a pilot test in the UK – and is now offered among Western Union’s core offering in UK and US as “Western Union Travel Wise.”

“I am happy that we were able to go on a journey with Western Union to explore new customer segments and non-core innovations – defining a product line for the traveler & FX market segment.”
— Christian Wank, Vivaldi

Traveling Wise with Western Union

Thanks to the disruptive innovation work conducted by our team, Western Union was able to successfully expand its product offering to cater to new audiences, with a smart solution for their F/X cash on trips to developing countries. The new Travel Wise offering was awarded the “Best Travel Companion” by “Pay Before” and helped to improve Western Unions overall image and its attractiveness beyond core users.