Technology has taken the banking domain to an entirely different level. With every service now available at your fingertips, the era of digital banking has started to make an impact across all domains.
Digital banking largely helps in solving reachability issues and reduces turnaround time for customer queries/requests. However, the services are limited. For a traditional consumer, it means sending/receiving payments, making bill payments, and checking account balances.
Banking is slowly evolving into a lifestyle-based service, catering to people who think and live differently. Banks may particularly find it profitable to provide their customers with products and services they regularly use on a single unified platform.
Here’s where a Super App can act as a one-stop-shop that banks offer to their customers for all their needs and wants. A Super App provides banking services along with shopping, insurance renewals, bill payments, electronic wallets, travel services, and entertainment services.
What is a Super App?
As the name suggests, a Super App is a superset of all apps, the one that does everything. Let us understand this better with a few examples.
WeChat was introduced in 2011 as a simple messaging app and soon evolved into a super app with more than a billion monthly active users. It offers all services and products in one app that Facebook, WhatsApp Messenger, Amazon, Uber, Apple Pay, Venmo, Grubhub, etc., combined offer. An average user opens the WeChat app at least 10 times a day, spending around 40 minutes a day.
In the second quarter of 2021, WeChat had over 1.25 billion monthly active users from a wide range of age groups. Opening its platform to third-party developers, WeChat has increased the footfall and added additional revenue streams for WeChat.
WeChat has transformed itself from an app into an ecosystem of varied features by leveraging its vast database of existing users.
Gojek is another superb app that has taken Indonesia by storm. Right from food delivery, transportation, digital payments, lifestyle shopping, hyper local delivery to various miscellaneous services, Gojek provides it all. Gojek has become Indonesia’s top on-demand service empire.
Gojek and Tokopedia have combined their businesses to form GoTo Group, the largest technology group in Indonesia and the “go to” ecosystem for daily life. There are over 100 million monthly active users and 11 million merchant partners. The GoTo group processes Gross Transaction Value (GTV) of over $22 billion and has over 1.8 billion transactions in 2020.
Introduced as a cashless payment app, Paytm soon became India’s undisputed leader in the domain of mobile payments, e-wallets, and e-commerce. It caters to various lifestyle needs of the customers. Paytm sells everything, from show tickets to groceries and digital gold. Its current market cap is more than $16 billion and eyeing a valuation of between $20 billion and $25 billion through IPO.
How Super Apps Disrupt Modern Banking?
Experts assumed that the rise of the super apps in the world would impact the banking sector only to a certain extent. However, super apps indeed have the potential to upend it.
Three reasons why bankers should be cautious of these developments:
1. Super apps are disintermediating the customer base.
While underwriting is still being conducted by established financial corporations, super apps such as Gojek and WeChat offer a plethora of services to their end customers. These players provide features that allow end-users to make payments, manage credit cards, make donations, purchase insurance, etc.
Super apps are thus acquiring and controlling the market, leaving just a handful of activities for the bankers. This new scenario has created a situation where banking corporations are being alienated and pushed away from their existing customers.
2. Super apps use their comprehensive set of data to produce great results and deliver smooth services.
Super apps own huge sets of customer data. By deploying data analytics and AI, they can predict buying patterns and customer behaviour. They use these insights obtained from alternate data like social media, merchant payments, phone recharge, and others to evaluate credit risk and accordingly underwrite the customers.
In addition, they can extend personalized products and offers to their customers. In contrast, traditional banks using the mainstream framework with a few customer-based results often fail to meet customer expectations.
3. Super apps are building a reputation for their brands in the financial services sector.
Earlier, only banks and card issuer infrastructure processed a significant number of transactions. Nowadays, super apps have such a tremendous reputation and extensive data that banking companies are trying to make strong connections with them to access customers’ financial records.
How can Banks Monetize from Super Apps?
Super apps inspired banking can be the new cash cows for banks and financial institutions. Regardless of the size and the scope of business, the management at banks should focus on the areas listed below to boost their top line and bottom line:
- Building new Partnerships and Services
Banks can leverage partner products & services to capture a larger customer base. It also gets a platform to launch new services and products to cater to the varied customer base across geographies and age groups. Penetration into new markets offers multiple business lines, resulting in a potential surge in the year-on-year revenues.
- Building APIs and Data Flows
In order to scale up, banks can build APIs and data flows to connect to third-party products and apps.
- Omnichannel Support
The omnichannel capability will help banks expand the customer channels from channels such as mobile app, web to channels such as bot, wearables, and voice.
New age platforms such as wearable devices and voice-controlled virtual assistants such as Amazon Alexa, Google Homes, and Apple Siri can also be used to increase the reach.
The future of financial services depends on data-driven capabilities. Banks will have to invest time and resources in building an optimal user-centric solution. Customer Journey Analytics, Channel Analytics, and Transactional Analysis can help them devise and optimize the Next Best Experience for their customers and prospects.
Building more MVPS for different business lines combined with multi-armed bandit testing (where the testing of the product is done for a specific target group) will help executives understand which line of business is performing better on a real-time and iterative basis.
With open banking regulations being enforced, banks are being lured into the API economy and the broader financial services ecosystem. Open banking and APIfication will help banks increase their revenues by charging for the use of their services/APIs. They can also leverage the APIs to cross-sell or upsell and cut costs.
With vast amounts of data at their fingertips, banks can monetize this data. The data can be used by banks or financial institutions independently to devise new services and products.
Neobanks have already adopted the strategy and are witnessing the results. It is time for incumbents to explore the super app way. Technology giants like Facebook, Google, and e-commerce companies are trying their hands at building India-specific products under a super app. To stand against such competitors, creating a technological ecosystem and delivering it at scale will help in substantial market capitalization.