Trailblazing businesses like China’s WeChat, Middle-Eastern ride sharing giant Careem, and South-East Asia’s Grab (dubbed the ‘everything app’) have adopted a superapp strategy to establish huge customer bases through engaging and comprehensive consumer experiences.
But while the concept of superapps is growing globally, the idea itself is over a decade old. Blackberry’s Mike Lazaridis actually defined a superapp as “a closed ecosystem of many apps that people would use every day because they offer such a seamless, integrated, contextualized and efficient experience.”
While Blackberrys no longer dominate the hands of user, the legacy of the superapp certainly does. Superapps allow businesses to tailor highly personal and engaging user experiences, while simultaneously generating and capturing vast amounts of user data, which then fuels their research. Besides this, frictionless customer onboarding, lower risk product launches, and significantly lower customer acquisition costs (CAC) are some of the many benefits of switching to superapps.
Application of superapps in different businesses
Here’s how various businesses can leverage superapps to provide superior user experiences and fuel their economic growth:
Fintech presents an excellent opportunity for the integration of several user-experiences into one cohesive platform. Companies like Paytm, the Indian giant, and Alipay initially started off as a fintech company but have moved toward being all-encompassing superapps.
This is made possible by the vast amounts of user data that fintech superapps collect. For example, having a record of all financial transactions made by a consumer over a period of time makes it easier to automate the calculation of their credit score and other metrics used to judge their eligibility for a loan. They can then use this data to start offering additional services such as e-commerce, bill payments, and even targeted advertising.
Mobility apps benefit from becoming superapps because they can offer integrated services to create an on-platform user ‘wallet’ that can be used to pay for rides. These wallets are linked directly to the users’ bank accounts or credit cards, and allow for a quick (one-tap) transfer of money into the wallet.
Services like Grab take this concept further and allow for hotel/flight bookings, price checks, and other services included under the Mobility as a Service or MaaS model. Like Fintech apps, ride-hailing businesses can use the vast data generated by their superapp ecosystem to offer personalized rewards, insurance, and many other services that give them a competitive edge over other businesses.
Restaurants, hotels, airlines, and travel companies are built on providing memorable user experiences that keep customers coming back. Integrating related services into an app can help these businesses offer instant online reservations, pick-up and drop off, automated valet services, and much more. With more services, hospitality companies can generate additional revenue, create greater customer loyalty, and crucially, learn more about their customers.
Food-centered businesses have also sought to use superapps to provide ancillary services where meal-prep packets or cooked meals are delivered to customers using ride-sharing or last-mile delivery systems built into the app.
Superapp services are absolutely essential for e-commerce in Africa and Asia. As so many countries on these continents are mobile-first, providing mobility and other services is one of the best ways to the most underpenetrated e-commerce markets in the world. With many users from these countries trying to minimise mobile-phone data consumption, the download of an all-in-one superapp is the perfect answer.
E-commerce businesses can add adaptive and responsive API modules (layout and features that adjust according to the screen size) in order to integrate several user-facing services onto one lucid platform. These services include netbanking, payment portals, crypto-payments, automated vendor registration modules, and even reward points which can be availed pan-platform (for instance Amazon’s reward points which can be redeemed with Kindle, Amazon Music, Prime Video, and shopping vouchers).
Social Media Platforms
Social media giant Meta (parent company of Instagram) and its family of apps have been trialing services like dedicated business registries and banking products among several consumer demographics around the world. These beta tests are an attempt to try and push existing social media networks towards the next frontier - all encompassing social apps that cover all aspects of a consumer’s daily life, from messaging to shopping and investing/saving their money. Recently, Elon Musk hinted at super app and payment ambitions for Twitter, while Uber partnered with Meta to use WhatsApp for booking rides in India, depicting the rise of social media platforms becoming a superapp.
APIs can also help social media companies integrate user experiences like mini-games, bookmarking, registering for an event/movie, and making payments on their platforms. Social media platforms could even proactively recommend a ride, for example, when a user types in “Let’s meet up in 20 minutes.”
How do you build a superapp?
All superapps start life as simple, single-purpose platforms that offer a niche yet important core service - like WeChat’s messaging or Uber’s ridehailing services. This helps them build a user base of millions and a steady stream of income. Once this is achieved, platforms can integrate with sector-related/ sector-adjacent services through easy integration technologies like SDKs and APIs. This strategy helps businesses conduct quicker, risk-averse product launches and draw users towards their new services at remarkably low customer acquisition costs.
Splyt offers hassle-free integration of on-demand services like ridehailing, bikesharing, food delivery and even trips, tours, and things-to-do. Your platform can quickly integrate these services using our SDKs and APIs. Features like one contract, one invoice, and multilingual customer support help us provide seamless integration experiences and help you harness the power of superapps.