The “Super App” in Depth and Why You Should Develop One
by Seven Peaks on Dec 28, 2023 12:00:00 PM
Forget just Thailand or Asia: super apps are surging in popularity across the globe. Their seamless integration of diverse services is turning them into a global phenomenon, destined to reshape daily life for millions. Leading tech giants such as Gartner predict that by 2027, over half the world will embrace the super app revolution.
A key indicator of the super app boom is the 2022 PYMNTS and PayPal survey, which found a remarkable 72% of consumers across the U.S., Australia, Germany, and the UK, are eager to embrace super apps.
Super App Interest Graph by PYMNTS and PayPal
What Is It and What Makes It “Super”
In 2020, at the Mobile World Congress, a spark ignited the future of mobile technology. Mike Lazaridis, the visionary behind BlackBerry, uttered the first definition of a concept that would redefine how we interact with our digital lives: the "super app."
“Super Apps are the kinds of apps that people love, that they use every day because they offer such a seamless, integrated, contextualized and efficient experience.”
Lazaridis' vision was bold: a single app that becomes your digital hub, your one-stop shop for everything from messaging and payments to transportation and entertainment. While the name "super" might sound ambitious, it's the perfect descriptor for these all-encompassing platforms.
But super apps aren’t born overnight, they evolve from humble beginnings. Often, they start with a single core feature, an MVP (minimum viable product) testing the waters and learning from users. This lean approach allowed developers and businesses to validate their ideas without breaking the bank. As success and user data accumulated, these apps blossomed, adding layers of functionality and morphing into the super apps we know today.
One App For All
Super apps are super competitive and hold the potential to rewrite the mobile landscape, offering a one-stop shop for daily needs and beyond. Here's a glimpse into their current repertoire:
Digital wallets serve various purposes, including storing money, earning points and coupons, and potentially retaining personal information for use as a digital ID for verification and more.
- Payment System
Platforms that enable secure and convenient online transactions directly within applications. Within Thailand and its ASEAN neighbors, 2C2P emerges as a dominant player, offering a comprehensive suite of payment options. From credit/debit cards, and e-wallets, to ATM and over-the-counter payments, 2C2P caters to diverse consumer preferences, prioritizing security through OTP verification for multi-factor authentication (MFA).
On a global scale, Stripe has established itself as a rising star in the comprehensive payment solutions arena. Its user-friendly API simplifies website integration, while its extensive support for over 135 currencies and robust security infrastructure have garnered the trust of global brands such as Amazon, BMW, Maersk, and Zara.
- Food Delivery
A mark of the times, convenient food takeaway delivery services that millions know and love.
- Online Supermarket
This service lets you effortlessly shop for groceries right from your living room and have them delivered to your doorstep.
- Parcel Delivery
This service streamlines logistics with seamless parcel delivery and document distribution services. Eliminate the need for couriers and experience effortless delivery for parcels, invoices, and billing notes, among others.
Shop for anything from snacks to home appliances and digital products.
- Transportation Service
Summon a ride from anywhere, be it a motorcycle or a car. Additionally, some apps allow you to select the level of luxury for your ride.
- Accommodation Booking
A seamless way to book a dream vacation with an integrated accommodation booking function, often conveniently nestled within a super app.
The Impact on Business
Super apps incorporate features that people find indispensable in their daily routines. This is why numerous brands are keen to venture into the super app industry. Success in this endeavor can yield various benefits for their businesses, including:
- User Engagement
The convenience of staying within a single app is key. Users can fulfill all their needs without switching, and a seamless experience leads them to utilize multiple services, fostering increasing brand loyalty on a continual basis.
- Invaluable Insights
The more users embrace using these diverse services, the more data the business has to understand their needs. It's like having a magic window into their preferences, far beyond what traditional single-service brands can see. This wealth of insight lets you tailor each service to your consumer’s unique desires, delivering a truly personalized experience that builds a lasting connection and greater customer lifetime value (CLTV).
- Product Improvement
The deeper understanding gained from Customer Data Platforms (CDPs), machine learning models, and data analytics fuels a virtuous cycle of continuous product improvement. Detailed insights pinpoint weaknesses for refinement, amplify existing strengths, and personalize the experience for each user – leading to a product that increases in value with every iteration.
- Developing New Products
Expanding service offerings unlocks an exciting playground for brands to experiment with new products and services, directly addressing user needs. Launching is a breeze – simply plug it into the existing app. No more costly development or new market promotion campaigns, which can be risky for unknown products under critical mass. If the service doesn't click, a simple decision can remove it, minimizing the fallout from hefty investments and taking on additional business risk.
- Expanding to New Markets
The traditional focus on a single business model can limit your possibilities. By embracing multiple revenue streams, you can unlock a playground of potential victories. These new ventures can evolve into thriving businesses in their own right, acting as springboards for innovation and propelling your brand to greater heights.
- Seamless Cooperation
For brands, partnering with a robust platform is like tapping into an already thriving ecosystem. They can co-create mini-apps within the super app, leveraging its reach and APIs to unlock new technical possibilities. Collaboration fuels versatility, building a stronger ecosystem for everyone.
- Cost Reduction
Unifying apps allows both businesses and consumers to take advantage of economies of scale, eliminating the need to pay multiple service providers for different services.
Super Apps That Users Super Like
True Corporation’s entertainment platform, which initially focused on movies, TV series, and integration with the TrueID digital TV set-top boxes, has added features from TrueMoney's digital wallet and payment service, including embedded finance products such as savings, loans, insurance, and mutual funds. This has transformed the platform into a larger and more comprehensive ecosystem that meets the needs of a wider range of users.
Originally, LINE was simply an app for sending messages between family, friends, or acquaintances. Later, LINE added new features, including Wallet, a digital wallet; LINE Pay, a payment system for stores and linked to public transportation services like Rabbit Card by BTS; LINE Shopping, an online shopping platform; LINE BK, an online banking system that is easy to sign up for and includes services such as deposits, transfers, loans, and insurance; and LINE MAN, which allows users to order food from restaurants, deliver parcels, and pay bills.
Grab started as a ride-hailing app in Singapore. As it gained popularity in Southeast Asia, it added a variety of other services, including a digital wallet, food delivery, parcel delivery, grocery and convenience store delivery, accommodation booking, and even tour packages.
Break the barriers between physical and digital shopping. Siam Piwat's innovative app seamlessly blends your online and offline experiences. Explore stunning stores, uncover hidden gems, and discover exclusive events at Siam Paragon, Siam Center, Siam Discovery, and ICONSIAM – all within the app. Shop curated collections online, track trends, engage with brands, and unlock member benefits.Grab started as a ride-hailing app in Singapore. As it gained popularity in Southeast Asia, it added a variety of other services, including a digital wallet, food delivery, parcel delivery, grocery and convenience store delivery, accommodation booking, and even tour packages.
AirAsia, initially starting as a low-cost carrier for flights, has taken off into a new era with the AirAsia Superapp. This one-stop platform goes beyond just booking flights, offering a whole ecosystem of travel and lifestyle services, from hotels and transportation to food delivery and duty-free shopping.
WeChat also began as a simple messaging app but has since evolved into an all-encompassing digital ecosystem. Beyond social media, it boasts a built-in wallet, seamless payments, a bustling marketplace, ride-hailing, food delivery, and even travel booking. It is China's dominant mobile app with over a billion users. Its integration with Alipay and embedded finance systems exemplifies the blurring of lines separating social apps and fintech.
Actualize Your Super App Idea
Super apps are the future of mobile. They offer a one-stop shop for a variety of services, making them convenient and easy to use. But developing a successful super app is no easy feat. With some of the most intense competition, it's important to do your research and partner with a reliable and knowledgeable software development company.
If you're considering building a super app, we're here to help. Seven Peaks Software is a digital transformation consultancy with extensive experience in app development, with particular emphasis on FinTech and e-commerce. Consult with one of our experts to start exploring possibilities today.