In recent years, the term “superapp” has become increasingly popular in the tech world. Super apps are mobile applications that offer a wide range of services and functions within a single platform. They are designed to provide a seamless and convenient user experience by allowing users to perform multiple tasks using a single app.
Jason Wong, Distinguished VP Analyst at Gartner, says, “we also see super apps gaining interest from forward-thinking organizations. Those orgs embrace composable application and architecture strategies to power new digital business opportunities in their industries or adjacent markets.”
Gartner expects that by 2027, more than 50% of the global population will be daily active users of multiple super apps. The superapp concept will also expand to include enterprise mobile and desktop experiences, such as workflow, collaboration, and messaging platforms.
Key Benefits of Super Apps
- Convenience: Offer a wide range of services in a single platform, making it more convenient for users to perform multiple tasks using a single app. For example, a user can book a ride, order food, and pay bills in one app without switching between different apps.
- Cost-effective: Cost-effective for both users and businesses. Users do not need to download multiple apps to access different services, saving them storage space on their devices. On the other hand, companies can save money on developing and maintaining multiple apps by creating a single superapp that offers all the services.
- Increased engagement: Offer various services, increasing user engagement and retention. Users are more likely to stick with an app that offers multiple services and functions than an app that offers only one service.
- Personalization: Provide personalized recommendations and services based on a user’s preferences and behavior. This can help to improve the user experience and increase user satisfaction.
- Efficiency: Streamline workflows and processes by integrating multiple services and functions. For example, a food delivery service can integrate with a payment gateway to enable users to pay for their orders without leaving the app.
When and Why to Use Super Apps?
Super apps are suitable for businesses and users that require multiple services and functions within a single platform. Here are some scenarios where super apps can be beneficial:
- Businesses that offer multiple services: Ideal for companies that provide numerous services such as ride-hailing, food delivery, and payments. By creating a single superapp, companies can streamline their operations and improve the user experience.
- Users who require multiple services: Suitable for users who require multiple services and functions on their mobile devices. For example, users who travel frequently may require a ride-hailing service, hotel booking, and flight booking service.
- Emerging markets: Super apps are gaining popularity in emerging markets where users have limited access to financial services and digital platforms. They can provide users with access to multiple services, such as payments, banking, and e-commerce in a single platform.
Real-world Examples of Super Apps
Super apps are designed to provide users with a one-stop shop for all their needs, ranging from shopping to communication to entertainment. They give the users a convenient and seamless experience by offering multiple services within a single app.
- E-commerce: Super apps like Amazon and Flipkart in India offer a wide range of products and services, from electronics to groceries to fashion. Users can browse products, read reviews, and make purchases within the app. These apps offer features like one-click ordering, quick delivery, and secure payment options.
- Food Delivery: Super apps like Uber Eats and Zomato in India allow users to order food from their favorite restaurants and get it delivered to their doorstep. Users can browse menus, read reviews, and track their orders in real-time within the app.
- Payments: Super apps like Alipay in China and Paytm in India allow users to make digital payments for a wide range of services, including utility bills, movie tickets, and online shopping. Users can also transfer money to friends and family members within the app.
- Ride-hailing: Super apps like Uber and Ola in India allow users to book rides and track their driver’s location in real-time. Users can also pay for their rides within the app and rate their drivers after the trip.
- Communication: Super apps like WhatsApp and WeChat in China offer messaging, voice, and video calling services within the app. Users can also share files, photos, and videos with their contacts.
- Health and Fitness: Super apps like Fitbit and MyFitnessPal offer users a range of health and fitness-related services, including tracking their steps, monitoring their heart rate, and logging their meals.
- Travel: Super apps like Booking.com and Expedia offer users a one-stop shop for all their travel needs, including booking flights, hotels, and rental cars. Users can also access travel guides and read reviews of popular destinations within the app.
Super apps have become increasingly popular in recent years, especially in Asia, where they have become an integral part of people’s daily lives.
How Do Super Apps Work?
Super apps are mobile applications that integrate multiple services and functions within a single platform. They work by leveraging application programming interfaces (APIs) to connect with different services and platforms. Super apps typically use a modular architecture, where each service or function is developed as a separate module that can be integrated into the superapp.
Here is a breakdown of how Super Apps work:
API integration: Super apps use APIs to connect with different services and platforms. APIs are sets of programming instructions and standards for accessing a web-based software application or web tool.
Modular architecture: Use a modular architecture, where each service or function is developed as a separate module. The modular architecture allows developers to add new services and functions to the superapp without affecting the existing ones.
User interface: Have a user-friendly interface that allows users to access multiple services and functions within a single platform. The user interface is designed to provide a seamless and convenient user experience.
Personalization: Offer personalized recommendations and services based on a user’s preferences and behavior. This can help to improve the user experience and increase user satisfaction.
Data management: Manage data from different services and platforms. They use data analytics to analyze user behavior and provide personalized recommendations.
Security: Prioritize security and use encryption to protect user data. They also comply with data protection laws and regulations.
Super apps are built using a modular approach allowing different services and functions to seamlessly integrate into a single app. Let’s see how super apps work technically using the real-world example of Tata Neu.
Tata Neu is a superapp developed by Tata Digital, a subsidiary of Tata Group, one of India’s largest conglomerates. The app offers various services, including grocery delivery, food delivery, bill payments, and e-commerce. Tata Neu is built using a modular architecture that allows different services and functions to be added and removed as per the user’s needs.
The technical architecture of Tata Neu consists of three main components:
Front-end: The front-end of Tata Neu is built using native Android and iOS development platforms. The front-end includes the user interface, which allows users to interact with the app and perform various tasks.
Back-end: The back-end of Tata Neu is built using a microservices architecture. The back-end includes a set of services that provide various functionalities, such as payment processing, order management, and customer support. Each service is developed independently and communicates with other services using APIs.
Middleware: The middleware of Tata Neu acts as a bridge between the front-end and the back-end. It includes several components, such as an API gateway, service registry, and load balancer. The middleware ensures that the front-end and back-end communicate seamlessly, and the app functions smoothly.
Tata Neu uses a modular approach to add and remove services as per the user’s needs. Each service is developed as a separate module that can be plugged in and out of the app. For example, if a user wants to use the grocery delivery service, the module for the grocery delivery service will be added to the app, and the user can start using the service.
The modular architecture of Tata Neu allows for rapid development and deployment of new services and functions. Developers can create new modules independently without affecting other modules. This approach also allows for easy testing and debugging of individual modules, which results in faster and more efficient app development.
Moreover, super apps have revolutionized the way businesses operate by creating new business models and opening up new revenue streams. For example, ride-hailing companies like Grab and GoJek started as ride-hailing services but have expanded into other areas such as food delivery, payments, and e-commerce. This expansion has enabled these companies to become super apps and offer a range of services to their users.
In conclusion, super apps quickly become the go-to solution for those seeking a streamlined and convenient digital experience. Their ability to combine multiple services into one platform and provide personalized recommendations and offers make them highly appealing to consumers. In addition, businesses recognize the potential of super apps to increase customer loyalty and engagement. By understanding how super apps work and the benefits they offer, organizations can stay ahead of the curve and take full advantage of this emerging trend in the digital world.