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The 5 Key Criteria That Makes a Super App, Super!

“Super App” is a term coined by Blackberry founder, Mike Lazaridis, defining it as “a closed ecosystem of many apps that people would use every day because they offer such a seamless, integrated, contextualized and efficient experience.” He envisioned a collection of apps that serve people’s multipurpose needs, seated in one mega platform. As prophesied, the age of super apps has already taken over our lives. 

The digital transformation across the globe and the rising demands of end users has pushed developers to create the ultimate “ecosystems of various offerings. ”Super apps or ‘digital front-doors’ have further evolved to a mass marketplace, offering a variety of products and services made possible by in-house technologies or through third-party integrations.

One of the leaders the Super app realm is WeChat, initially an instant messaging app that transformed into an ecosystem of services including but not limited to taxi booking, virtual wallets, payment channel, hotel reservations and of course, gaming.

Map of the WeChat mini program Ecosystem

Similar super apps have sprung up over the past years, starting off as a single use focused app and that eventually morphs into a multi-purpose mega platform that offers a variety of services that addresses people’s needs. 

 Contenders to WeChat are the likes of Grab, Gcash, Paymaya, Gojek, MPT4U in Asia Pacific, Tata in India, Yandex Go for Europe and Careem in Dubai. There are a wide number of tech companies aiming to be THE ultimate super app. Even The Facebook Company, with their purchase of WhatsApp depicts its ambition to bite into Super app market pie.

 So what makes a super app really super? We’d say it has to do with the elements and characteristics of being able to provide an all-in-one or one-stop-shop capabilities to end users. The more service or functionality being offered by a mobile app, providing convenience to end users, the higher its level of superpower.

Let’s deep dive into the the 5 characteristics of a super app:

  1. Super apps are the ultimate go-to app on the phone

The ease of use and search of products and services in an all-in-one app holds more value to end users because it is convenient and saves time. Imagine it as another home copy of your home screen where you can get to all the services you need to sort out your daily life within just one app! e-Wallet, check. Bills payment, check. Games, check.

  1. Has at least one service or function that has a high open rate

Super apps like Gojek and Grab started off as a ride-sharing app and each added functions such as instant messaging and e-wallet. Gcash started off as a mobile wallet and payment center, and now offers multiple verticals in-app. Whatever a super app was initially built for, it was doing its ‘job’ superbly, allowing them to morph into an ecosystem of offerings.

Gojek vs. Grab
  1. Easy access to end users’ wallet

Why let your end users keep money in another app when you could have direct access to their wallet? This is an important function being done by many apps with the ambitions of being a super app, even such as the likes of eCommerce platforms Lazada and Shoppe launching their own e-wallet function that enables ease of access to payments for their users.

Lazada Wallet
  1. Open and welcome to partnerships with other platforms

Super apps are like your malls with multiple shops offering various services. The very reason why they are what they are is their ability to be open to collaborations and partnerships. Their app structure allows for other platforms to be seamlessly integrated within the ecosystem they have built. Gamification platforms like Goama enjoy partnerships in over 24+ countries across the globe, providing a highly curated library of addictive games.

  1. To sum it up, from a business perspective, a super app provides much value to businesses in general

The capabilities of a super app can increase growth, and engagement. Additionally, having lots of services that cater to different needs of consumers will help with retaining users.

It is no secret, Goama loves super apps and integrates seamlessly with one, providing the fun aspect that retains the end user on that super app, lengthening end user time spent while they are not using the key service that the super app provides. It is entertainment within reach, without having to install multiple game apps on their phone. 

End users simply need to tap into the super app and they will have access to high quality casual gaming. Goama also provides monetization opportunities through game tournaments that makes end users hooked on further.

Super apps are here to stay, and ever ready to serve end users’ multipurpose needs. What about you? What do you enjoy about the super app that you are using?



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