Super Apps: How Did It Start And What Does It Offer For Marketers?
Omnichannel was one of the most frequently used marketing concepts until a few years ago. Institutions such as banks serve their customers through many channels such as call centers, online and physical branches and mobile banking applications. The aim here is to provide uninterrupted service to the customer by providing a holistic experience in all channels. Today, it has been replaced by concepts such as “only channel” or “mobile first”.
The most important reason for this change is the increase in smartphone penetration. The increase in the prevalence of mobile payment methods such as NFC and QR code, especially in banks, and the ability to open a banking account from a mobile app with legal regulations has increased the importance of mobile apps. This eventually has revealed a new concept: Super Apps.
The concept was first used in 2010 by BlackBerry founder Mike Lazaridis. He described superapps as “a closed ecosystem of many apps that people will use every day.” For an application to be super, it must include at least two of the features such as courier, payment, social media. In addition, developers can design different apps to run inside the application. Thus, there is no need to create additional applications. The main purpose here is to provide the user’s daily needs with the best experience by establishing an ecosystem that combines many services.
Super applications mean that different services such as messaging, shopping and finance can be done through a single application. When we consider that every product and service has an application and phones have turned into application garbage, we can explain why this concept is so popular.
Wechat and Alipay from China are one of the first examples of super apps. Both examples first emerged with the messaging feature as a social media application, and later on, by incorporating different types of services such as shopping, hotel reservations, movie tickets and money transfer, they started to offer all these services through a single application.
China is known as a country with a mobile-first population. This is because the first contact with the internet among its citizens is through mobile devices. Mobile applications are widely used by people in the country. Additionally, super apps enjoy strong government support that cannot be underestimated, as the Chinese government is interested in finding ways to digitally connect with the country’s 1.5 billion citizens. For example, the WeChat super application provides the ability to replace traditional identity documents. No wonder why super apps have become so popular in Asian countries.
Super apps are also often referred to by the name of the industry, and the most common is the term Financial Super App. Banking, insurance company applications and other fintech applications can be included in this context. Being able to perform all financial transactions from a single application and with a good experience provides serious convenience for customers. Because a different application means facing a different experience, which can be annoying sometimes. Revolut is one of the best examples in the financial super app field. Firstly, it is on its way to become a financial super app, while integrating with many different companies vertically, it shows that it is on the way to become a full super app with the accommodation reservation service it has announced recently.
It is certain that the number of brands that offer more than one service from a single application will increase in the future, regardless of whether the applications position themselves as super apps or not. The biggest reason for this is that both the end users in B2C do not want to download a new application and the businesses in B2B want to reduce the number of brands they have contact with. Although the increase in the number of brands every day offers customers more than one alternative, consumers are now looking for simplicity rather than complexity.