Having worked in the industry since 2006 before the launch of the iPhone, Bob is a mobile veteran, and through Appsynth has played a key role in launching many of Thailand’s most successful mobile applications.
With consumers’ average time on mobile continuing to increase every year, mobile remains the most important digital touch point for most enterprises. However much of this attention is concentrated in a select few apps, and those that are successful in capturing users’ attention and driving repeat usage are now diversifying offerings to own an even greater share of customers’ time and wallets.
“Super app” has become a buzzword, with many companies rushing to cram the term into their branding and marketing blurb. However as Bob shared, there are some common characteristics amongst genuine super apps, which only a few companies are successfully pursuing.
Public interest in super apps has boomed over recent years, and 2022 was the year when this long-established format in the East started making headlines in the West. The outspoken Elon Musk help contribute to this, teasing his plans to build “an everything app” way before his Twitter acquisition. Shortly afterwards Super Apps were identified as one of 2023’s Strategic Technology Trends by Gartner, and currently features at the very top of the Gartner Hype Cycle.
BEYOND THE HYPE, WHAT DOES “SUPER APP” REALLY MEAN?
>Bob shared that there is more than one definition of a super app, but most include some form of diversification and expansion, through new service development, vertical/horizontal integration, strategic partnerships and/or open innovation.
He shared a number of statistics that highlight this growing trend, with large consumer applications driving rapid growth by both diversifying their offerings and opening out their platforms for partners to integrate with.
The most basic definition of a super app is a wide range of features under one roof, which may be a closed ecosystem fully operated by a single business. However Bob shared that the greatest opportunities are enjoyed by those building open ecosystems, enabling third parties to innovate on top of their core services to grow exponentially.
Typically this starts by expanding into related services, but eventually encompasses a range of lifestyle services that compliment the businesses’ core offering.
There is also a trend for theme-based super apps, where they expand to cover wide ranging customer needs within a particular vertical, such as mobility or finance.
Bob shared that although an open ecosystem may be the end aspiration for many super apps, achieving this goal is a challenging journey, not only from a technical perspective, but also commercially and operationally.
He shared that ecosystem governance is also a trade-off between control Vs flexibility and speed, with no single right answer on how to approach it. Several of the largest super apps globally have taken different positions in terms of where they sit on this spectrum, and there are pros and cons of each option.
Having worked on multiple super app projects, Appsynth has a deep understanding of the strategic and technical factors that must be considered to create a successful super app.
If you’re considering taking your app to the next step to become a full blown super app and would like to know what it takes, get in touch for a free consultation today.