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Super apps aren’t on the radar yet for many U.S. consumers, which means there’s a huge opportunity for banks and fintechs to get in on the ground floor of this emerging trend. Learn what’s at stake and how to capitalize on the possibilities in this VB Live event.
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WeChat and Alipay, the super apps of the east, are demonstrating the power of a mobile application that can act as a one-stop-shop for services that span the gamut from dinner reservations to social media, shopping or catching a rideshare, or even filing for divorce and doing some online banking. WeChat is billions of users strong and has been around for over a decade; the super app movement on the western side of the world has some catching up to do. But companies in the U.S. are starting to wake up to the opportunities that creating a super app, or joining a super app platform, can bring.
Giants like Google and Apple have moved into the space, with the multitude of services available on their marketplace. But there’s a tremendous amount of room for new entrants into the space, like Halen Technologies, which currently offers food delivery, grocery delivery, rideshare, vacation rentals and flight bookings.
“Financial institutions and fintechs have an opportunity because of consumer demand,” says Dr. Anthony Rhem,owner,CEO and principal consultant, A J Rhem & Associates and advisor to Halen. “It’s about providing ease of use and convenience for customers. That’s why super apps are going to make a lot of inroads, and make companies think more about some of their future applications and releases.”
Companies can often become stagnant, Rhem says, when their market share in those one or two services is solid, and the smart strategy looks to be evolving that platform to make it more efficient at delivering those services, and never looking beyond that limited footprint. However, competition and consumer need are pushing companies to rethink that.
Making the move to superapp
The first step toward breaking down the barriers to evolution is understanding what their particular share of consumers want and need. That means getting out there and communicating with them, and making that customer wishlist a to-do list for the platform. So instead of having to bounce through app after app to take care of all their financial needs, customers will stay engaged, with all those services handy under one trusted, sturdy umbrella.
But it’s not about just dumping a bunch of services in front of a customer, Rhem says. You need to know your market, and not try to be all things to all people.
“Understand, in your space, what is important and what services are needed,” he says. “The services have to be meaningful to the consumer. They have to put the consumer in front.”
Part of that is securing data – privacy is an urgent concern for most consumers, and a solid data security strategy helps secure their trust, too. On top of that is ensuring the customer experience, no matter what side of the platform you’re on, is exceptional. AI and machine learning are essential to driving the experiences for every value chain.
He points to the Halen Technologies strategy, which uses AI to help rideshare drivers optimize their income, and personalizes the consumer experience by serving up the localized products and services that best meet a customer’s needs at any given time, like a birthday sale or a deal on the services they use the most.
Is your architecture ready?
Part of the the lag for U.S. companies comes from the most important piece of the super app puzzle: a platform’s underlying framework, which might not be suited to incorporate the technologies a super app needs.
As more and more companies rethink their digital strategies and move into the super app platform or category, they should embrace an open architecture. An extensible architecture lets you plug and play your services, without having to redo the architecture every time. It slashes the time and costs involved, as well as the time to market.
Once an organization nails down what its customer base needs, the next step is a road map to rolling out those new services. From there, the question becomes whether the current infrastructure can accommodate upcoming stops on the journey, or if changes to the infrastructure will be necessary to fit the new road map.
“These things are not functioning in a vacuum — they ebb and flow off of each other,” he says. “Your road map, your understanding of your customers, and how your technology is going to fit into your platform is all working together to make sure that you address your customers’ needs in a way that creates an engaging, user-friendly experience.”
That requires a headless architecture, which allows plug and play of the best of breed applications that will accommodate those services you want to include in your environment. Part of that is setting solid policies and technology in place to ensure finance rules and regulations, data policies, and ethical use of AI are all supported.
But don’t try to do everything at once, Rhem says. Prioritize the services based on the customer need, upgrade to or implement an extensible platform architecture for your services, then make sure you have an iterative, agile process to start building one service at a time.
“If you start with those basic foundational pieces and build on that, then you’ll have a solid foundation to work from,” he says.
Watch free on demand here.
- How much potential exists for super apps in the U.S.
- The secrets of successful super apps
- Using data to power your super app
- How to meet customer expectations for digital self-service
- Ways to leverage APIs and open data architecture
- Opportunities to launch or partner in a super app ecosystem
- Ariam Sium VP of Product, FinGoal
- Dr. Anthony Rhem,CEO/Principal Consultant – Owner, A J Rhem & Associates; Advisor & Investor of Halen super-app
- Sam Johnston, Chief Marketing Officer, Empire Ecommerce
- Rachel Kaser, Technology Writer, VentureBeat (Moderator)