Tata recently launched their all-encompassing app platform Neu in April 2022. Customers can buy groceries, book a ride, make payments, and even book hotel stays all in one place. The omnipotent features and benefits they provide to customers have elevated them into something only a few apps can compete with.
Such massive apps with a seemingly endless list of features and services come under the category of super apps. They are currently in trend in Asian countries, backed by companies that are widespread across multiple industries. This unique position allows them to combine their services together and provide an end-to-end app experience for their customers.
- Businesses across countries find it easier to develop super apps
- Super apps work best when localised apps have failed to impress users
- Introduction of super apps requires mobile phone adoption by a sizeable population
- Benefits of super apps make it an investor-friendly option to pursue
What are super apps?
To be precise, a super app is an app ecosystem with an extensive range of services personalised for its users. Super apps may not necessarily start ‘super’ but the variety of services that a business provides can come together to form a super app.
Tata Neu is a great example of a super app where all the different customer goods and services sectors under the firm come under one umbrella application. This helps customers find even more services without looking for localised services to get things done.
The difference between a regular eCommerce or service application and a super app is the sheer diversity of services they provide within the same platform. The level of variety can even include movie ticket bookings, hospital appointment bookings, grocery shopping, and utility bill payments.
One key aspect Super apps focus on is the creation of a coherent customer base that’s dependent on the services within the platform and not depend on localised applications for individual needs.
What’s so special about super apps?
Super apps really work well in countries with massive mobile adoption. This helps them to acquire user data to personalise services and deliver more value with the slew of applications. This is quite important as customers can easily get confused by the sheer number of apps they encounter within these app ecosystems.
Designed for the next billion users
For users who are new to adopting mobile phones, it’s beneficial for them to find a solution to all their utilities within a single app platform. Searching for the best app in the market for any given service might be difficult for these users, so having a super app in place solves this challenge.
Data privacy across the board
Saving passwords and losing storage space for an application that solves a single-use case could feel burdensome for some, especially when it can be done within an umbrella application. Just the way Amazon Pay can easily replace individual bill payment portals, super apps help users easily find and solve their day-to-day challenges.
One place for all apps
Super apps always have applications that range across industries. This is possible because the companies that own them are often spread across multiple industries too. This helps customers get services quicker and connect users to other essential services that supplement the services already availed.
Why do companies try to build super apps?
The first thing to note is that not all companies build super apps. These are still a rarity in the US and UK compared to Asian countries where cross-border businesses are more predominant. For these business conglomerates, it is much more convenient to have a combined platform to list all their services and create a truly end-to-end app experience for their users.
Big companies often branch out into different industries. To have an app ecosystem where customers of one of their services get to know about the rest of them is an interesting business prospect. This is one novelty that customers also find intriguing as they come across any new product/service within super apps.
Super apps thrive across countries with similar cultural backgrounds. This is because the companies that operate across these countries find similarities in user behaviour and find it beneficial to have services span across their user base. Super apps, in this case, are a perfect opportunity to consolidate all their users into a single platform.
Better user engagement
Similar to cultural associations, super apps create a homogenous ecosystem for users to find all their relevant services in one place. With proper data consolidation from users across the list of applications with the super app, they can easily create relevant changes to the UI and easily retain customers for much longer.
Benefits of super apps
1. Widespread customer acquisition
Since super apps usually span across countries, the risk of user acquisition is reduced due to the availability of a varied audience. This also helps them launch multiple apps across countries and test viability for their diverse customer base.
2. Homogenous apps
Every mini-app within a super app has a similar build, which makes it easier to develop quickly. This reduced time in UI design and development can be reflected in the improved launch dates of apps across multiple countries at the same time.
3. Ease of cross-selling
With multiple apps running within an app ecosystem, it is easier to onboard new customers to new apps who have already been using a different product/service within the super app.
4. Revenue growth
With customers using multiple apps or services within the same app ecosystem, an increase in revenue is predictably easier for super apps than conventional localised apps due to their increased chances of new adopters.
5. Customer engagement
Since super apps thrive on creating an end-to-end experience for their users, it’s inherent for these platforms to create connected services that take care of all user requests without much effort.
Platforms that help users do more with a single login are naturally inclined to retain more customers. This is also supported by the constant addition of features, functionalities, and customisation they provide to users based on user behaviour.
7. Lesser re-acquisition costs
Re-acquisition is perhaps the most difficult thing for conventional apps due to their limited range of services. Super apps bypass this by having their users already engaged in any of their other services. This helps them improve their service and present the option without users leaving the platform.
Will super apps live up to their hype in the future?
Super apps require widespread mobile adoption to thrive, no matter what country they cater to. As the number of mobile users will only see growth in the future, super apps will be a constant presence in our lives. Users will also find it beneficial to use a single app platform to get every essential service/product with ease.
With loyalty programs employed by these apps, users get an added benefit by relying more on super apps than custom applications that are localised and solve only a smaller use case. Even more, their mobile app development will require to be more customisable and scalable as the services they offer increase with time.
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Super apps are here to stay and they constantly strive to create a seamless experience for their users. Either by combining processes or by improving the feature list within them, customers find it easier to use them. It still has a long way to go for worldwide acceptance as localised apps still have their customers firmly supporting them for the level of personalisation they offer.
As super apps become more mainstream, they can easily find better ways to simplify user journeys and deliver services/products faster. With data collected over multiple apps within the platform, they are poised to take over markets with a superior user experience that few can offer.