Converting the unconscious entrepreneur: the new USP for super-apps

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For super apps, stickiness is the name of the game. They’re not just trying to deliver a single service done well but an entire ecosystem – a platform that covers so many elements of a user’s life that it becomes truly essential.

The challenge for super apps is often standing out. What differentiates one platform from another is its repertoire of services – but the more all-encompassing each one becomes, the harder it becomes to set each one apart.

For super apps looking for new ways to differentiate themselves, small businesses could be the answer. By adding essential business tools into your range of features, there’s an opportunity to attract a new audience of business owners, build a vibrant marketplace, and champion the ambition of a new era of entrepreneurs.

The greatest small business tool is convenience

Several super apps have already begun targeting the small business market. In Southeast Asia, Enstack offers SMEs a platform for building an online store and managing their inventory and accounts. In Kenya, the startup app Araka functions as a marketplace connecting self-employed tradespeople with potential customers, while also giving them access to financial tools to pay for transportation and essential supplies.

In many ways, super apps and small business owners are a natural fit. The reason why is convenience.

That’s the factor that helps any super app to thrive – offering users a way to access a wide range of everyday services in one place, with complete integration between them. And for small business owners, the lure of convenience can’t be overstated.

Running a small business can take over a dozen different applications – accounting software, inventory management, customer bookings. When everything is handled separately, a small business owner’s day can quickly be consumed by logging in and out of various apps.

A super app offering those tools in one place is a huge draw for time-strapped business owners. The faster they can handle those tasks, the more time they can devote to improving their business by reaching out to new customers or developing their products. Time back isn’t just an opportunity, it’s a major competitive advantage.

Supporting small businesses can elevate an entire platform

While platforms like Enstack and Araka are building super apps specifically for running a small business, that isn’t the only opportunity here. When super apps thrive on their range of services, adding in a suite of business tools can be another way for more general platforms to differentiate themselves – and attract new users from other platforms.

In countries dominated by super apps, the users you’re targeting will likely already have a platform they favour. And if they’re used to using that app for essential everyday tasks like staying in touch with friends and family, ordering groceries and managing their finances, they need a compelling reason to uproot from that ecosystem.

If they also run a business, being able to do that within a super app could be what draws them away. The convenience of one app to manage everything comes into play here.

Those business tools would make an app indispensable – the more they use the app for work, the more they might migrate elements of their personal life to the platform as well. Eventually, what started as a way to easily manage their company online becomes their preferred everyday app.

If there are more small businesses hosted on a super app, it’s also possible to create a marketplace among them. That naturally makes the platform more appealing for business owners by giving them access to more customers as well as partners and suppliers. But it can also attract more consumers, as they can buy from and interact with their favourite small brands directly within the app.

Converting the unconscious entrepreneur 

If a super app has the tools to start and run a business, it’s not just serving existing business owners looking for a platform. It’s also creating the opportunity for new business owners by placing the tools right in front of them.

It’s about converting the unconscious. Imagine one of your users is a talented jewellery maker in their spare time. They might have thought about turning their hobby into a business or even had it suggested to them but they’ve never seriously considered it. Either they weren’t sure about how to build a website or an online store, or they knew the tools were out there but the prospect of navigating unfamiliar tech was enough of a barrier.

But when those digital tools are packaged within an app that’s already an integral part of their daily lives, that changes the picture. They don’t need to invest in tech they aren’t confident using – it’s already in their hands and wrapped in a UI they’re comfortable with.

There are also many ways you can prompt users to explore your new business tools – such as running crash courses on how to set up an ecommerce site, or hosting social media live streams with small business owners who have found success on your platform.

The goal is to reach out to those people who might only have dreamed of owning a business and showing them what they’re capable of achieving.

We’re on a mission for tech democracy for small businesses – are you in? Request a demo of our software, or get in touch to see how we could collaborate.

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