Nedbank launched Avo 3.0, the latest version of its super app. Speaking at the launch, Vishal Maharaj, Executive: Digital at Nedbank, said that Avo 3.0 was the outcome of over two years of learning since Avo was launched in June 2020, and builds on Nedbank’s long track record of leveraging digital technologies to find new ways to delight and engage customers.

“We have learned a great deal from our customers and business partners, and we have expanded the platform substantially. Avo 3.0 crystallises all of that growth and understanding,” he said. “Avo 3.0 is all about introducing purpose into the mix, making it much easier for users to solve real-life problems: how to access the best power backup solution, for example, or a new car for a university-going child.

“It’s all about making it easier for time- and cash-strapped South Africans to find the best solutions without having to navigate a multitude of apps. Everything is in one place, backed by the Nedbank promise of high cyber-security and innovative payment and finance options to make it easy to get what you want.”

According to McKinsey, the total Africa digital ecosystems revenues are expected to reach

ZAR 1.2 tr by 2025 and growing at 8% per annum. Super apps were initially developed in Asia to provide a single platform on which users could access a wide range of products and services. The technology is spreading globally as so-called “app fatigue” sets in, with consumers increasingly looking for convenience and high levels of personalisation.

Launched in June 2020, Avo hit 1.7m registered users this year. Its population of merchants increased by 37% to 24 000 over the same period, and the gross value of merchandise traded on the platform increased ninefold.

Mr Maharaj says that while one purpose of Avo is to solve customer problems, another is to provide SMEs with access to market backed by state-of-the-art fulfilment, essentially giving a small business the muscle to compete with a large corporate.

Aside from its growing range of consumer products, Avo now also offers Avo Auto, a growing marketplace for vehicles with 140 qualified dealers currently on the platform. It will soon launch a Park-and-sell capability to connect private sellers to qualified private sellers and over 3000 dealerships and is set to expand into several SADC countries via its Africa export proposition.

In April 2022, Avo released a B2B marketplace to complement the established B2C platform proposition.

“Our B2B offering is designed to help businesses streamline their value chains,” Mr Maharaj says. “It offers businesses a way to purchase products easily, and we will add services in the new year. But our unique B2B value proposition allows companies who already have a business relationship to use the platform to negotiate price, facilitate and track bulk buying and integrate existing procurement practices such as purchase orders. The platform can even be used by sales reps.”

Users can leverage the value locked in their debtors’ book by ceding a portion of it to Nedbank so they can access financing for stock purchases without tying up free cash. Buying clubs and franchise organisations can use it as a way to consolidate purchases in order to strengthen their bargaining position for obtaining discounts.

“One of the strengths of Avo as a whole is the way in which we can embed innovative finance and payment solutions from Nedbank to make it easier and more cost-effective for users to access the solutions they need,” comments Mr Maharaj. “In parallel with Avo Auto’s entry into markets north of the border, we will begin testing these markets for our B2C platform propositions.

“We remain committed to keep on analysing the data we obtain from our customers and business partners to keep on improving the customer experience and make it more personally relevant—Avo’s journey is an exciting one, and it’s continuing.”

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