A brief history of super apps
The term “super app“ was coined by Mike Lazaridis, the founder of BlackBerry. He envisioned an ecosystem where simple and small applications would be a part of a larger umbrella app and the communication and connection between these small apps would be seamless and centralized. It is more like a Lego of multiple applications built to form a superstructure which is, in essence, a single app.
Although the concept might have originated in Canada, the practical implementations were not taken up by many countries in the west, including Silicon Calley. However, in stark contrast to what was prevalent in the so-called tech capital of the world, countries like China, Indonesia, and India embarked on their own journeys of creating such super apps.
There are a few noteworthy names like Gojek, WeChat, PayTM, AliPay, Grab, and MyJio that have emerged from Asia alone that have served as case studies and even testimonials for the possibilities of profitability and success with super applications. If not for the COVID-19 interregnum, it is quite possible that the Japanese messaging app Line and Yahoo Japan would have merged in a staggering $30-billion deal, bringing Japan into the list of countries with their own super apps.
It is to be noted that almost every super app that we talk about today started off as a single service app. WeChat, for example, was intended to be a messaging app but today, it has become the lifeline of China. It boasts of a user base of about 1.17 billion users and is only next to WhatsApp and Facebook messenger when it comes to messaging apps. In addition to instant messaging, the app also provides a wide range of services including but not limited to taxi booking, financial services, food and grocery delivery, and a lot more.
Why do you need to try out a super app business idea?
More often than not, the business that runs these super apps does not have to invest in the development of applications. It is mostly done by third-party app developers who build their apps on top of the existing super app ecosystem. It presents a two-prong benefit for both the developer and the business. The developer does not have to go through the hassle of marketing their app. They can easily sell the app to a super app platform, resulting in immediate profit. For the super app business, they do not have to spend their time and money on developing a new app. They can simply acquire/integrate the developed app into their ecosystem and they are all set to launch a new service. What might be an intense undertaking of marketing and brand building has now become a matter of a simple app update over the air.
The biggest benefit of super apps has to be in terms of the richness of data it provides. It is the intensity of data drawn from multiple avenues that make super apps a dependable source for financial services. Microfinance provided by super apps like AliPay and Gojek have very less default rates. The consumption/spending/repayment battens analyzed by the app ensure that loans reach only the right hands. Since everything is automatically processed, the time taken to disburse the loan is also quite low. Sometimes, it is as low as a few minutes.
Building a super app business
It is to be remembered that all super applications start off as simple single service apps and they slowly expand. Therefore, to start a super app, you will need to have a strong use case that will enable you to start with at least one profitable app. Some apps started as financial businesses and some of them started as transportation… And some popular super apps have started as instant messaging platforms. Therefore, you will need to identify your niche of operation, so you can kickstart your business with a considerable magnitude of success.
The heart and soul of a good super app lies in its payment system. To start with, the app needs to have a proper payment gateway that can accept payments from multiple methods like credit cards, debit cards, and Internet banking. However, if the app has to survive in the long run, it is important to have its own native wallet. In a super app ecosystem, it would be a great idea to have a native wallet because it becomes easy to use the refunded amount for other services. For example, you might not buy groceries every day but if you get some refund for your grocery, you do not have to essentially wait for the next time you buy some grocery items. Instead, you can use that credit for being for your next ride on a taxi.
We have been talking about how third-party support is available for developing new apps and introducing new utilities. However, it is important to build a strong network of third-party service providers that will keep your app fueled with new utilities that are in line with trends. Under the hood, it is this network of developers that have been responsible for the skyrocketing of successful super apps.
Gojek – Front runners in Super app business
Gojek, one of the forerunners in the field of on-demand services. Gojek started its business in Southeast Asia and chose the ride-hailing services niche. After gaining popularity, the company introduced several other on-demand services and made its business more concrete. Many on-demand services apps may come and go but Gojek prevails in the market.
Now, coming to the crux of the content, what shouldn’t you consider Gojek like an app for your multi-services business? Offering multiple on-demand services will really boost your business to the next level as you can attract customers who are ready to avail of different services.
How to launch a super app like Gojek?
Building a Gojek like app is easy these days, approach the right app development company or try the ready-made app solutions. Make sure you come up with the right features for your app. Implement the business and revenue model that does right by your customers and also earns you a good amount of profit.
Gojek has many contemporary competitors like WeChat, Grab, etc., but it still clings to the top position by providing frequent offers and excellent quality of services. With well-devised planning and a long-term vision, you too can excel in this business for sure.
Jennifer Atkinson is a growth hacker and business advisor who helps new entrants in the business world to adapt to the changing circumstances in the business world. She also helps the firms to best adapt to the current digital transformation and help them setup their digital version of the company.