A single mobile environment that offers a plethora of services closely and/or loosely related to the app’s core functionalities. Those services can be both self-created or integrated through partnerships with other companies.
A few examples:
The benefits of this type of apps for the companies offering them are quite evident. When done right, super apps allow companies to draw in new users, increase users’ time spent on the platform, lower churn, capture user data across services and open up new revenue streams. If your platform gets big enough, you could even start selling advertising space on it. Going super means increasing your grip on the customer by offering ‘more’: more to do, more to see, more to measure, more to sell.
It is far from a simple thing to accomplish though. The rise of the most successful super app, WeChat, was largely made possible by unique circumstances: rapid mobile tech adoption and legislation making it harder for apps from outside of China to enter the marketplace. The West is in a different situation entirely. We have become accustomed to fast-improving single-focus apps that may be strong enough by themselves to render any bundled version of them unnecessary. That leads us to a central challenge for those select few with the resources to even consider evolving towards super apps: how will you create added value for the user?
1. If you’d be worried about giving up a lot of personal data
By using a single app for what you would otherwise do in five different ones, you are effectively helping a company circumvent limitations on cross-app tracking. If it happens on their turf, it’s their data.
2. If you’d be worried about becoming too reliant on just one app
Users that posted pictures of the recent protests against the Chinese president had their WeChat accounts shut down. These users lost access to financial, health and social services they depend on daily, with only limited options to set it all up again in an alternative platform. It’s a whole different deplatforming ball game than just getting kicked off of Twitter.
3. If you’d simply not see any additional benefits
One environment with a whole bunch of features or apps in it is basically how any smartphone works. If all a super app does is put together functionalities you already use, that might not be enough to convince you.
1. If you’d save time
In theory, super apps could make you more efficient if they:
2. If you’d get better at decision making
While giving up more personal data may be a big threshold, if the provider succeeds in making your data work for you the exchange may prove worthwhile. Getting more complete insight into your personal spending could help you save more, for example.
3. If you’d get better deals
If the entire package becomes cheaper than the sum of its parts, that alone could be a reason to sign up. It’s how Amazon turned roughly 65 percent of its shoppers into Prime members.
In Belgium, it seems to be mostly financial players moving into super app territory. Where else could it make sense? Below, we have listed areas in which we would like to see centralized platforms, based on what the user could get out of it. We have purposely stayed away from business-driven combinations that may feel random (eg. combining ride hailing, e-commerce and dating) but focused on horizontal integration within the same industry instead.
The large supermarkets in Belgium have struggled in the past to effectively combine user data across different services in their ecosystem, and translate it to a smooth experience. However, some of them have been venturing into new areas such as online grocery shopping, gearing them up towards further horizontal integration.
Living more energy conscious is no easy feat when there’s no way to get a complete overview on your consumption stats. Providers could grant their clients a lot more personal control over their energy by combining data points. Also, they could serve as a central guide in the complex field of durable renovation and anything that comes with it. Of course, the idea is not new, but we haven’t seen providers step up to the plate yet.
Anyone would tell you that getting and keeping fit takes a holistic approach, from exercise to healthy eating and sleep. However, most apps in this space seem to have a single focus (even when they offer additional services). We would like to see a high-quality integration of features across disciplines, all linked to a central user account.
It is interesting that some large international platforms such as Uber have expanded from ride hailing to food delivery and other services. However, as a user, we would like an overall solution that is focused purely on mobility. Show us how to get from point A to B in a faster, cheaper, more comfortable or more sustainable way, for any type of situation. In addition, these apps could provide us with options for a short or long stay in case we are traveling.
We are sure that multiple Belgian companies are already working on these concepts in some way, shape or form. It’s easy for us to philosophize about future platforms here without having to worry about the hard work that’s ahead of them. In any case, we hope that whoever goes super next tries to create actual added value for their customers.
What are your organization’s digital ambitions for the next few years? And how can we help you in making those tough decisions? Fill out our contact form and swing by for a chat!