Have you ever heard the term Super App? Have you ever wondered what a Super App is? What are they and, are they taking over the world of mobile applications? In this article, we are going to learn a little about them.
In today’s world, we are used to seeing more and more applications developed for small and medium business, it could be for the coffee shop right outside your job or for the smoothie bar in the town center. These applications are often really small and simple, this is because they don’t need to offer a big set of functionalities to the user, but what happens with the big companies, such as Google, Facebook, Tencent or Alibaba? How do their users get each of their products? Some of these companies diversify creating multiple applications, each of them for a particular purpose, on the other side, some companies offer all of their products or most of them in a single application, a new class called Super Apps.
Right now, the AppStore has 2.2 million apps available for download, on the other side Google Play has 2.8 million apps to download, all of this to cover the needs of over 2.7 billion smartphone users with about 200 billion app downloads, around 75 apps per user. Let me be honest here, I don’t know which apps I have installed in my device right now, at least not all of them, I have lost track of it and I’m probably not the only one facing this. Here is where Super Apps come in.
A Super App is a new model in the world of mobile applications and digital business. They are most commonly seen in Asia, while Latin America is a big market niche of Super Apps and now, they are shyly emerging in the European and North American market. Let’s think of Super Apps as an OS, or even better, as Mike Lazaridis, founder of blackberry stated in 2010, a closed ecosystem of “many apps” that people use every day. The idea of this Super Apps is to offer the user all the services he might need within a single application while making the user experience so great that he couldn’t resist using it.
Super Apps follow the evolution of today’s big names, for example, WeChat – from Tencent- located in China and Rappi located in Colombia. Most of them started offering a particular service, WeChat started as the Asian version of WhatsApp and Rappi just as a food delivery application. Right now, WeChat has more than a billion monthly active users and an average $7 revenue per user; along with the messaging and social media features it already had, now you can also order food, hire taxis, pay your bills, make transfers, even have your id digitalized in the app, among other features. Something similar happens with Rappi, you can pay your bills or your car insurance, make transfers, get someone to take care of your pet, and still order food. Just like in the Lord of the Rings there was a ring to rule them all, a lot of today big companies tend to have an App to rule them all.
So, it must be easy to build a Super App: just take a bunch of services, put them together inside an app, and make it look pretty. Well, I’m sorry to be a killjoy, but it’s not as easy as it seems. There are a few things we have to keep in mind before building a Super App, for example, are we ready to have continuous growth, to be in constant beta, to have biweekly objectives or goals and releases, do we have the necessary manpower to do it?
We have to get rid of the idea that an application is the means to offer a product but to see it as the product in itself. We need to have a deep understanding of what our users need and start generating content from it, no matter how absurd it might be, we need to transcend our frontiers and go beyond our business core, to generate more and more services. Once we are ready for all of this, we will be ready to start building a Super App.
Being ready to build a Super App, the next question would be, should I build one for my company? There is no certain answer to this question, but if your company offers a bunch of services and you are located in Latin America or Asia, you probably should start looking into it, if you are in North America, I wouldn’t worry too much about it. However, I suggest you to keep in mind that whatever you don’t do, someone else could do it. Be always ready, look into your local market, and don’t let anyone take over your business with their own Super App.