Is it possible to order a pizza, buy movie tickets, and plan your next vacation, all from a single app? You’ve likely heard of these all-in-one super apps that let customers do that. The secret behind them is the technology of mini apps.
Chances are, your customers are already using mini apps to handle their daily tasks. Across Europe, America, and Southeast Asia, companies are building mini apps in lieu of standalone applications, or using them to transform their mobile platforms into super apps. In this blog post, we’ll show you six examples from various industries and countries.
A mini app can be used inside a financial app as a shopping catalog. Klarna, for example, has in-app services in its BNPL app for checking prices on clothes and sports goods. One way to tell that these are mini apps is that they load like a web browser, with a search box at the top and back/forward buttons at the bottom of the screen.
The mini app found in Klarna’s financial app allows users to search for items and compare prices in various categories, like clothes, games, and sports. However, unlike other mini apps, it doesn’t let users make purchases directly. Instead, it redirects them to third-party services like Amazon to complete the transaction.
A possible reason for this is that Klarna is known primarily as a financial service, not an e-commerce platform. Hence, the mini app’s primary function is to help users find the best deals quickly, rather than make a purchase inside the app.
Some mini apps, like the ones in a Colombian super app Rappi, allow users to manage their travel plans. Rappi customers can book flights and hotels in the app and pay with a credit card or Rappi digital wallet. Thus, the in-app service saves their personal information, including their tax ID, for future bookings.
If the super app’s owner manages to convince many hotels to join their platform, this option could become a decent local alternative to larger and well-known booking platforms like Booking.com and Airbnb.
A distinct feature of mini apps is that they are kept in the cache of the super app, similar to the way websites are cached in the browser. So the next time a user launches a cached mini app, it loads instantly. This helps users make their purchases faster. For example, if they love watching films, buying a movie ticket in a mini app takes a couple of minutes. That’s how it’s done in the super app IZI that we've developed for our client.
With a mini app, there’s no need for users to search for a movie ticketing website in a browser or download a separate app. They open the banking app they’re used to, launch the ticketing mini app, choose a movie, and purchase their tickets—all in one place.
Users can usually find mini apps by searching for them in a super app. For instance, if someone wants to order a burger from Burger King, they can open the Alipay super app and launch the Burger King mini app.
Once the user has chosen what to order, they’ll be able to pay using a payment method saved in their Alipay profile. Mini apps have access to that data, so there’s no need to leave the super app to complete the process, and no need to log in again. This makes the whole purchasing process frictionless.
The Grab super app from South Asia is another example of how mini apps make everyday purchases easier. Users can book bus and ferry trips through the app, which shows all available trips and seats regardless of the operator. This means that users don't need to double-check the information elsewhere and stay in the app for longer.
The ticketing mini app shows a typical feature of mini apps—asking for permission to access personal information from the user's main Grab profile. This helps users understand which data is used by this mini app.
Mini apps can also be used for entertainment. For example, AirAsia uses mini games in its super app to keep users engaged and help them develop an emotional connection with the app. AirAsia’s games are simple yet engaging, and even if a game seems boring, users can easily try another.
Mini games can also attract new users: if they download the app to pass the time during a flight, they can later use it to shop or order food.
Mini apps are a versatile solution for businesses of all sizes, regardless of industry or location. As long as you are willing to partner with a super app, you can use mini apps to achieve your business goals. Alternatively, if you’re considering developing your own super app with mini apps and need guidance, feel free to reach out to us.