What are super apps?
Super apps, as the name suggests, are super in nature. What makes them different and ‘super’ is their ability to provide a wide range of services that any other fintech platform usually offers. Think of it as going to a mall. You have almost every kind of shop to cater to your clothing, accessories, reading, gastronomical and even relaxation (spas) needs. You come out of the mall feeling elated and without having to hop from one building to another to purchase something.
A super app does the exact thing for you. It is a virtual equivalent of a multi-faceted shopping mall. You can buy, sell, rent, order products, and services on a single platform without shuffling through a myriad of screens and lacking the usual exasperation that tends to follow using a few apps together. It’s a portal to the internet for a mobile-first generation.
How did it all begin?
Originally, the term ‘super app’ was coined by BlackBerry founder Mike Lazaridis back in 2010. According to him, it is “a closed ecosystem of many apps” that people would use as they offer such a seamless, integrated, contextualized, and efficient experience.”
While the term has only recently become familiar in the American market, especially among fintech, the concept originates from China and Southeast Asia.
China bounced into the internet age, which led people from using telephones to smartphones pretty fast. This helped internet companies to innovate in a way their counterparts in the West haven’t been able to. TenCent, the Chinese tech giant took its WeChat, which started as an instant messaging app and morphed it into a billion dollar generation mega-functionality platform.
What term was coined by Lazaridis, found a true realization in the existence of colossal multifarious apps like WeChat(China), Gojek(Singapore), Alipay (China), Careem(UAE), and Yandex Go (Europe).
PayPal, Facebook, Walmart, and a few alike have joined a race to create a financial super app that can serve as a singular source for all of a consumer’s financial needs, from banking and money transfers to financing, and insurance.
Features of Super Apps
Super apps usually involves a marketplace of third-party offerings that are fully integrated into and engaged with users and offers a plethora of experiences and services.
Some of the most common features that almost all super apps contain:
- Cashless payments
- Mobile payments
- Credit and loans
- QR code payments and rewards
- Ordering grocery/lifestyle products
- Booking hotels/restaurants
- Ordering medicines
- Ticketing for travel
- Calling and messaging
- Job search
Super apps create a uniform platform for multiple tasks that consumers want to perform online. This is one of the main reasons super apps are gaining ground over single-use apps. It’s almost like the last Avengers movie, wherein towards the climax you had every superhero from every kind of universe appearing to defeat Thanos. Maybe not a similar kind of experience per se, but getting everything done conveniently on one platform is pretty great, don’t you think so?
When we talk about the superpower or benefits of super apps, the list can be quite long. Since we don’t have enough time or space, let’s talk about the three poignant ones:
Convenience is foremost. You get things done easily and in a short time without breaking a sweat. (Appzillon feature-digital experience platform)
The range of services is extraordinary. You can message your pal, simultaneously booking tickets for your next holiday, while renting your cab and ordering your dinner. The range is limitless.
super apps have been designed keeping the User Experience (UX) in mind. They aim to provide a uniform and an amazing experience to all.
Super Apps for Banking
Are they a friend or a foe for banks?
The prolific rise in super apps may have the potential to impact the banking sector aggressively. This is why banks need to sit up and take notice.
As we have discussed, super apps like WeChat and Alipay offer a variety of basic banking, savings, and investment products to customers. As of now these products are being originated and underwritten by banks, this still means that these traditional financial institutions are pushed a step back from interacting with the consumers.
Siloed data and archaic technology mainframes are preventing traditional financial institutions from understanding the customer better. Whereas super apps thrive on data. It’s not that they have access to an unprecedented amount of data, but they know how to use it for gaining more customers and target better financial products to them for traction.
Super apps integrate financial services into their domain to create convenience and remarkable experiences for their customers. What does this mean for banks? Well, for one, consumers may prefer using a superapp than a banking app, unless it has been created on a low-code platform keeping the UX aspect in mind. Apps like Appzillon provides a stunning and easy-to-use UX and UI.
Banks need to invest in expanding their mobile offerings to improve their mobile experience and perhaps create a financial super app. By encompassing a customer’s banking, financial, and payment needs and services under one umbrella, banks can create their financial goliath app.
They have to begin with designing a robust app from the start. With technologies like mobile application shielding, biometrics, banks can develop the financial super app consumers need while protecting their sensitive financial data from threats.
Super apps are trying to win the game of owning the client relationship through the digital channels, and recognizing that more and more mobile experience is the critical one to win the relationship with the customer. If there’s one thing for sure, it’s that the app fatigue isn’t fading anytime soon. Marketplace competition has only begun, and there is no time like now to act and transform. If you are curious to understand how banks can employ AI and ML to create apps that can compete with the super apps, then talk to us now.