From App to Super App with Financial Data

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Super apps are on the rise, but many consumers aren’t aware of them yet. Super apps are applications that exist as a single, accessible platform that provide a wide range of services. Empire Ecommerce’s Chief Marketing Officer Sam Johnson, FinGoal’s VP of Product Ariam Sium, and Dr. Anthony Rhem, CEO of A J Rhem & Associates, spoke in a recent VentureBeat Webinar about the upcoming trends, opportunities, and insights into super apps for financial services and the fintech world. 

Super apps should accompany the user all the way through their journey. To Sam Johnson, Empire Ecommerce’s Chief Marketing Officer, “A super app is a congregator of services into one full user experience… In my opinion, it collects the services fully into its interface and then provides the full user experience within the app from entry, to search, decision, purchase, profiles, all the rest of it.” 

Ariam Sium, VP of Product at FinGoal, also says that the services provided by super apps should be strictly value-adds, with relevant features that will actually be used by your community. 

“I think that all these solutions that super apps are leveraging for their user experience should be incredible value-adds for the actual users. You could have a super app per se, that has a whole bunch of features that nobody really wants, and you could have a really large community that doesn't really engage, but those are aspects that are also necessary for something to be considered a super app.” 

But what opportunities do super apps offer to fintech creators? “They definitely offer a large potential audience and an opportunity to have several services in one, consistent user experience,” shared Dr. Anthony Rhem, CEO of A J Rhem & Associates.

Superapps also open a door to large amounts of data which can be leveraged by fintechs to create a more personalized user experience.

 “Having access to a vast amount of data on your customers allows you to segment more effectively, target users with the right offers, promotions, services, and products at the right time which then produces a better user experience,” said Johnson.

Super apps are being brought to market in two ways. One that has been coined as the winner takes all model, and the other is the aggregator model.

“The winner takes all model is where providers who offer banking or other core services with a big customer base gradually expand their offering and start to add other things onto it. The aggregator model is where fintech providers help create a digital experience in layers or marketplaces to connect users to existing ecosystems that already are out there in financial services,” shared Johnson.

Super apps will also create more competition and force institutions and platforms to be highly considerate of their user experience. “Institutions for the most part have not had to change or improve in order to compete for a very long time. Super apps will create more competition where if you do want this user's business, or if you want this user to join your platform, then you have to be very considerate of what experience that it is that you're giving them from start to finish,” iterated Sium. 

But how can fintechs get in on the super app trend? “From an architectural perspective, they really have to take a look at where they are and what the cost would be to build the architecture they need to include for the services. And what those services will be at the end of the day and how that roadmap is going to evolve over time,” stated Rhem.

Sium added, “A great way to get in is to understand where a super app is failing. When are users leaving the application? What are the experiences that are leading them outside? And how do we bring them in?”

Data is the key to super apps, but some types of data may be more useful to platforms than others. Ariam shared that the most important type of data for super apps is behavioral data. 

“What does engagement look like? When are people using the super app and why are they using it? What features are attracting them and at what times, and how often. Being able to see how users are engaging with every part of the application is key to get an understanding where the users are deriving value from this experience, and where it makes sense for us to invest more to that experience.” 

On the user side, privacy plays a big role in super apps. “Data privacy issues, rules and regulations, and laws around that is something that FinTech companies have to pay attention to. So when it comes to data privacy and ethics with AI, that's something that has to be thought of at the very beginning of the effort, when you start to figure out what services you want to put on your super app platform,” emphasized Rhem.

Data should strictly be used to enhance the user experience and nothing more, and super apps should be transparent about what their data is being used for., “When it comes to super apps you essentially have a plethora of data about the user. If you're not using that to make the user's experience better than what exactly are you using it for?,”  stated Ariam.

In entering the super app space, fintechs will have to mitigate obstacles while building super apps and getting users to adopt their features. According to Rhem, the key is finding the right mix of services. 

“I think every company is going to take a different spin on this. My thought is offering the right set of services for the consumer that you are targeting and making sure you understand that and know that data journey from end to end.” 

Going further, Sium says fintechs need to specifically leverage transaction data to understand their users. 

“Financial data tells you so much about a user and what their day-to-day is, what they believe in, what they spend their money on, what they're voting with their dollar with. So if you're going to niche down, figure out who that user is using financial transaction data.”

So how can fintechs prepare for a super app future? “Be prepared to play nice.  Make your data and your information accessible, make your API’s very clean and easy to use, and make your implementation processes very simple to get started off the ground. I think the best preparation is understanding the rest of the market and making sure that you're able to easily integrate and partner within that market,” emphasized Sium.