Nedbank has introduced a “super app” called Avo, which incorporates the functions and services of a wide range of other useful apps. In contrast to the FNB banking app, which provides extensive functionality that helps users manage their financial lives, the Nedbank app is a platform for helping to manage users’ lifestyles. Both apps are examples of large service providers embracing a platform approach rather than simply offering core functions.
“Today’s banks have an opportunity and a responsibility to do far more for their customers than merely provide financial services,” says Ciko Thomas, managing executive for retail and business banking at Nedbank. “Platform ecosystems are the perfect way for them to deliver these comprehensive value propositions that their customers deserve.”
Avo offers the following services from one app:
- Online groceries and food: “Get your all of your groceries from leading retailers in one delivery, or browse the Avo Shop for essential items at the best prices.”
- Essential professional home services: “From a burst pipe to pest control, whatever you need, we have the service provider for the job, and we find them for you.”
- Digital home entertainment: “From Showmax to Tidal, Deezer and more, we’ll keep you entertained during lockdown and beyond.”
- Airtime, data and electricity: “Need to top up? Get airtime, data and electricity bundles.”
- Users are rewarded for shopping on Avo, earning 1% in Avo Points on every transaction they make on the platform.
Nedbank says that, due to COVID-9, its plans had to pivot from a physical-activation-led launch to a purely digital and essential-needs-based approach. A test version of Avo had been delivering essential goods, providing home entertainment and connecting home service providers across provinces.
Previously, its strategy of becoming a “digital-first” financial services provider led to the launch of the Nedbank API Marketplace, a platform aligned to open banking standards, which “creates opportunities to disrupt the traditional approach to banking and financial services while laying the groundwork for a truly client-centred, market-orientated and innovation-driven future in the digital world”.
Fred Swanepoel, chief information officer of Nedbank, says Avo was “created to bring customers and businesses together, accurately matching customer’s lifestyle needs to product and service offerings through powerful artificial intelligence, safe and secure payments, and bank-grade security”.
Nedbank initially made Avo available to its own staff, and has signed up more than 5,000 customers, along with 170 registered Home Repair and Services merchants. The Avo beta version has been released to Nedbank Money App users, with a phased release planned for Nedbank clients, before a full public launch.
“The capacity to add massive value to every aspect of a person’s life or business is what makes a platform ecosystem really worthwhile,” says Thomas. “This new digital engagement platform is a massive next step for us on this journey to be more than a bank, but rather through leveraging our digital leadership to be a creator, facilitator and enabler of real and lasting value.”