What’s a Super App and How to Build One to Boost Your Business
Let’s admit we’re practically helpless without our smartphones and the apps they provide access to. Getting stuck in an unfamiliar part of town is nothing if you have Uber or at least Google Maps at arm’s length. But trying to remember the number of the local taxi service (or even the last time you actually called somewhere to call a taxi) may become painful for some people. Apps for ordering food, making payments, planning our day, and many other routine tasks are confidently settled inside our devices and become our inseparable companions. However, in a manner, such a state of affairs is a double-edged sword.
The first thing that comes to mind is the necessity to juggle all the apps we have when we need to change the focus from one task to another. Even planning a simple weekend evening with our loved ones requires using half a dozen applications. You need to buy cinema tickets, reserve a place in a restaurant, plan your route, be everywhere on time, pay for everything and don’t forget to set ratings for the movie watched and the restaurant visited. The question is, is there a better way to deal with such challenges? One of the possible solutions is super app development. Today, we’ll learn what a super app is and how you can build one to benefit your business.
Collecting Multiple Mini Applications Under one Umbrella
The central idea behind super apps is pretty straightforward. Someone once thought, why don’t we create an application that will work as a portal providing users with access to multiple tiny apps, each performing a specific task? A seemingly simple concept has become so effective that the only term to describe it was “super apps.” However, despite the name, these tiny applications don’t provide any functionality beyond the possibilities of regular apps. They have other values, such as efficiency, ease of access to different functions, and the ability to put many applications in order.
Super app components do not necessarily come from a single development company. In some cases, third-party developers may offer an idea of their service to a more prominent market player. If it’s promising enough, it can be included in a super app to widen its possibilities. The more extensive application, in this case, works as a platform allowing the activation or removal of specific services. It helps to avoid the necessity of using the app store every time you need to use a particular new feature.
According to the target audience, there are two major types of super apps. Customer-facing solutions work as any other application on the market. They are designed and developed with a potential customer kept in mind and must reflect the current audience demand. WeChat is an excellent example of a customer-facing solution. The number of its active users is steadily approaching one and a half billion, allowing them to make almost anything from booking doctor appointments to ordering movie tickets. Employee-facing super apps are the second large group. They were initially designed to be used within an organization to help increase employee productivity by providing access to up-to-date schedules, onboarding updates, and other functionalities.
Considering the nature of super apps, it’s hard to say what they are best for. It’ll be easier to list cases in which they cannot help. You can judge yourself by considering that there are solutions for social media, banking, finance, healthcare, online payments, etc. Each super app consists of multiple services you can combine any way you want until the goal is reached.
For example, nobody restricts you from building a super app that will gather together everything one may need to care for health. Just imagine a platform that includes a small social network where users can discuss healthy recipes, a delivery system for ordering low-carb foods, an app for buying or renting sports equipment, exercise tracking, and a body weight control system, and on top of that, a reliable and secure payment solution. If some users want, they can enable additional features not to miss their doctor appointments, for example.
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This tiny fantasy of a perfect super app brings us to the first benefit of using them for the end-users. They’re convenient. It’s that simple. People can decide for themselves which combination of services they need at the current moment and use them through a single access point. Plus, there’s no need to go through the authorization process repeatedly if you can log in to a super app once.
Some of the benefits businesses can reap from super app development are evident. For example, if your app has everything, the chances of attracting a larger audience will increase. The best part, in this case, is that feature richness does not mean a bulky user interface overloaded with fields and buttons. Super app development allows the end user to delete unclaimed features so that nothing will harm the user experience. A large audience, in turn, enables using the info on what services users disable most often and what arouses the most significant interest. With this data gathered and analyzed, companies can balance the effort of their development teams more efficiently. It will help to focus on what’s important and avoid spending resources on unclaimed application features of a super app.
How to Build a Super App for Your Business
Building a super app combines standard development techniques with some extra steps reflecting the nature of such software solutions. The tricky part is to match small building blocks with each other to form a single whole. To overcome this challenge, you can start by getting to know your potential users better.
1. Explore the Market
The prominent feature of super apps, namely access to multiple smaller applications, should not become a reason to add as much functionality as possible, hoping that users will figure out what suits them best. Instead, it would be best to find a perfect balance between what you can implement and what an average user will decide to try. Instead of composing a list of features your development team will work on in the upcoming months, try to start with something that will make your app stand out from everyone else. Say, older people or people with physical disabilities may find it difficult to use multiple regular applications every day. Here, you can work towards better accessibility and invest in developing a super app that includes all the features every person needs in everyday life.
You don’t necessarily need to invent and implement your super app’s components by yourself. In this case, the development process can take a very long time. Of course, there’s always a possibility to expand your opportunities by hiring a dedicated development team. But if this option is not for you, you can collaborate with someone with a working solution with enough potential.
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2. Choose the Features You Need
With super apps, it’s hard to predict where the road of innovation will lead you. For example, Uber started as a replacement for traditional taxi services and then slowly but surely acquired new functionality. Even if you have groundbreaking plans, starting with something small is a decent development strategy. Build a solid app audience, and monitor user feedback to determine what functionality they think your platform lacks. Then you can work on the missing parts and build them into the existing ecosystem.
3. Develop a Unified Approach to UI/UX
In the case of super apps, this stage plays a severe role. Especially when you only build part of the app by yourself and some third parties are involved in the development process. Applications included in the platform can provide services of different natures. For example, you may decide that grocery shopping and restaurant reservations are two features your customers can’t live without. Due to the specifics of functionality such applications provide, the UI will look different, and users will get different experiences. Your goal is to develop UI/UX guidelines. Your development team can follow them to help users not to perceive your super app as a combination of incompatible applications for no apparent reason. The most obvious things to think of are color palette, typography, and branding elements that will help different parts of the super app look like a single whole. Here, you can either count on your own skills or rely on a team providing professional UI/UX development services.
4. Choose Your Monetization Strategy
When you invest in regular web application development, it’s easier to decide how you will generate profits. The decision may be more difficult when you work with multiple apps united by a single platform. However, if you choose to start with core functionality and grow your super app consequently, you can select one of the monetization options according to your starting point. For example, the freemium approach implies that you provide some services for free but also offer your users to upgrade to a more advanced version of the app to access additional features. If you build your super app around a messaging platform, you can include all the functionality required for comfortable communication in a free version of the app. The premium version, for example, can allow users to draw doodles using their smartphone screens and turn them into custom sticker packages using advanced AI and ML algorithms. Providing subscription-based access to your super app or reserving some screen space for ads are less innovative yet pretty effective monetization strategies.
5. Choose the Tech Stack
There’s nothing more complicated and, at the same time, more straightforward than recommending a tech stack for super app development. There are many well-established frameworks and libraries such as React, Vue.js, Node.js, Webix, DHTMLX, or Laravel so that you will avoid facing a situation where no tech can cover your development needs. On the other hand, such diversity sometimes makes it hard to make the right choice.
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6. Build and Test Your Super App
After you outline your goals and choose a set of tools to help you achieve them, your idea can finally take shape. Despite the thorough market research that you did not forget to carry out in the early stages of the development project, keep in mind that end-users’ minds work in mysterious ways sometimes. Therefore, you can always start with MVP development, gather feedback and make adjustments while the cost of reworking functionality remains relatively low.
Since you eventually come to a complex system where diverse applications must work together and operate with sensitive data, you must recognize the importance of testing. There are two major rules you should follow: the earlier in development you start implementing testing, the better, and there’s no such thing as too much testing.
7. Deployment, Maintenance, and Frequent Updates
After you ensure that the development process is completed successfully and your super app has no bugs, or at least there are so few of them that you can offer the first users to try it, it’s time for app deployment in Google Play or Apple App Store. However, it’s too early to relax even after the download counter breaks through the sky and the first five-star reviews appear.
People always seek more, be it new flavors of ice cream or mobile app features. And guess what? Your super app is not an exception to the rule. The development process should not stop except for a few days to celebrate the application launch. To keep the users happy, remember to release new features regularly. Also, since users trust you with personal data, such as correspondence and credit card numbers, you must constantly monitor potential security risks and update the app accordingly.
Super app development is a process that requires due diligence. The freedom of combining diverse applications under one platform is limited by the necessity of following a single concept. Your idea to combine online payment services with an application that controls smart kitchen appliances may be a decent starting point for super app development. However, without a proper implementation approach, you risk potential users will not share your vision and will not understand the benefits of replacing regular apps with your invention.
If you have an idea for a super app but need help figuring out where to start, contact us, and we’ll be happy to discuss your project.