IBDA Cafe Branch

 Alawwal Bank

Focusing on the Customer Experience

Working with the Alawwal Executive Management team, this project is amongst the most successful to date.  The remit was to re-imagine the branch experience and provide a relaxing location for the bank's customers and prospects to enjoy the hospitality of a Costa coffee whilst experience 'impulsive' banking through a range of digital experiences.  The result was the bank's best performing branch for acquisition, and raised the benchmark for retail banking digital on-boarding in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

IBDA Branch Links :

IBDA Website from Alawwal Bank

YouTube 360 Tour of the IBDA Branch

The IBDA project began by envisioning the full customer journey, starting from outside the branch to every possible digital experience whilst being inside the branch.  This involved defining customer persona's and what the target outcome for each type of customer would be.  The conclusion to the envisioning phase was a well defined strategy for the bank, including a branch design and a number of bespoke digital experiences that would be developed for the IBDA branch.

Select the icon to view the Virtual Reality Experience for the IBDA Branch on your Mobile Phone or VR Device.

As part of developing the IBDA branch concept, we explored the idea of making the branch aco-branded facility with Costa Coffee.  The location in the new Nakheel Mall in Riyadh was identified and presented the opportunity to build a bank branch that had never been done before anywhere in the world.  The location was identified as an open-air branch which was positioned above a water feature and was ideal to build a flagship branch that would resonate with the  local population and key demographic of the Mall.

Partnership negotiations with Costa Coffee and the Mall management were successful and presented unique challenges in establishing the primary brand for the facility, and an operating model that would ultimately appeal to all businesses involved in the IBDA branch.  From the outset, the IBDA branch began breaking all the rules of what traditional banking should be, and instead established itself as the most innovative retail bank in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

" The IBDA project involved an end to end delivery of the branch concept.  From envisioning to site selection, partner and mall negotiations, and then onto demolition, hoarding, construction and digital experience development "

In addition to doing the construction and fit-out for the IBDA branch, it was also required to select the appropriate technology hardware for the branch.  Tablets, ATMs and large touchscreen walls were selected for a robust retail environment, and installed expertly within custom joinery to create a fluid customer experience.


Digital experiences were developed and integrated with the bank's back-end systems to deliver a seamless experience for customers and an onboarding process that establshed the bank as the leader in this area.

From gamification applications outside the branch, to interactive touch walls and tablet solutions for browsing Alawwal's products,  and highlights of the bank's award winning loyalty program and mobile banking platform - the IBDA branch became the first truly digital Cafe branch worldwide.